A few months ago I discovered the best/simplest/easiest way to incorporate more vegetables in our day and I have to to tell you about it.
I feel like I do a pretty good job at feeding my family healthy food while retaining a good balance. My kids are well rounded when it comes to food and I really like that. They love fresh peas and tomatoes from the garden and they love when we make cookies together. Sometimes though I think I’m the only one eating the vegetables that I make for dinner and the rest of the family is filling up on their favorite tacos or pasta or soup. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m always on the hut for easy ways to encourage my kids to “eat the rainbow” and try a wide variety of foods, vegetables included.
The easiest way to add vegetables to your day and to encourage the WHOLE family to eat more healthy is a super simple, let me introduce you to the life changing magic of the veggie box.
What is a veggie box?
One day a week you prep a variety of vegetables and you stick them in a container in the fridge (we eat a lot, I end up making a box about every 5 days). Life. Changing!
How do I make a veggie box?
The key to me is include a great selection of vegetables. This is the perfect way to encourage your kids to try new vegetables as well as have their favorite staples on hand. You are going to wash, cut, peel, and prepare your vegetables however you would normally if you were going to eat them. You are after ready to grab, bite-sized pieces. You don’t need to add any water to the bottom of the box either, they should keep fresh for about 5-7 days (depending on the type of vegetable). I like to try at least one new vegetable a week (I threw in radishes recently and it was so funny to see the kids try them. My two-year-old loved them, everyone else gave them a nibble and then politely declared “they aren’t my favorite”).
Do I serve the vegetables with anything?
Yes and no. I definitely don’t get out the ranch dressing, but I do like to get out a tub of Sabra hummus sometimes. Too many kids I know will eat carrot sticks ONLY with ranch and that’s just too bad. I don’t foster that habit in my own kids (plus we only eat homemade ranch and I don’t always have it on hand). That being said, if they do want something to dip it in I’ll get out a tub of hummus (my kids like classic and roasted pine nut the best, I’m obsessed with the Chipotle hummus). I feel like the hummus is a great option because it’s a tasty dip but it also has some other things like fat, protein, and fiber that makes it awesome.
What’s so magical about a veggie box?
A few things make this work really well. One is that it is prepped and ready. Just because you have done all the work and the vegetables are now ready and easy to eat, you’ll find yourself going to it more. Convenience is a powerful thing, even when it comes to vegetables. Second it looks great. I love eating pretty things. And third, I think it gets you into a great routine of reaching for vegetables because you can, this goes back to the convenience thing.
When do I use said box?
My main times are lunch, after school, right before dinner, and on the go. I like to pull it out at lunch when I need to round out the meal. We eat a whole lot of simple peanut butter and honey sandwiches or meat/cheese/cracker lunches so this is a really easy thing to pop on the table. After school with a couple of boiled eggs and that hummus makes a great easy snack. I also love to pull the box out during our “witching hour”. This is the hour before dinner when little people are hungry, I’m still cooking/getting homework moved along/running all over/trying to clean up the house before Husband gets home, and things just tend to be longer and harder during this 5 pm to 6 pm hour. When the kids are begging for a snack but I’m just about to put dinner on the table I just get the box out and set it on the table. If they really are hungry then they munch on vegetables while I’m finishing dinner (no harm in that if you ask me); if they aren’t as hungry as the whining makes you think, they’ll wait for dinner to be served. Last but not least I have found myself tucking this box of vegetables in my purse so many times. It’s great in the move, while you’re waiting for dance to get over with little boys in the car, at ball games, and on your drive to places. The work is done, all I have to do it pack it and we have an instant healthy snack.
My oldest just started baseball and the games are right at dinner time on the nights that Thomas has scouts (he’s the Scout Master for our community). I’ve found it’s best to bring a picnic while flying solo on those nights. It’s just easier, cheaper, and more manageable then that concession stands with four little boys in tow. It’s an unofficial dinner and I don’t have dishes to do at home or a floor to sweep. I’ll take it! I posted a picture of the meal I was taking on Instagram and people loved the idea. That’s actually where I got the idea for this post (thanks friends!)
What if we don’t eat everything in the veggie box?
No worries! I think you will but if you don’t, most of the vegetables can be tossed with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and then roast on a baking sheet at 425 degrees until tender (about 15-20 minutes for most things, I don’t roast celery or cucumbers so I’m mindful to eat those before they get old). If my box is starting to look a little thin I’ll roast up the leftovers and eat them on a salad or as a side for dinner. Easy! I also have found that when the vegetables are washed and ready to roll I’m pulling them out of the box tons! One morning I wanted some vegetables with my eggs so I chopped a few of the bell peppers and some broccoli a little more before I sautéed to go with eggs. If I want a salad for lunch I’ll just chop up some of the vegetables in the box and put them on lettuce. Pizza night toppings are already half prepped if you keep a veggie box in your fridge and the list goes on and on. Oh the life changing magic of a veggie box!
Tips and Tricks:
- Don’t get stuck on “normal vegetables”, you might find that things like uncooked green beans or asparagus spears are your toddlers favorites. If they don’t love them, you’ll roast them up later!
- I was sent this Snapware container by America’s Test Kitchen a long time ago and I’m in love. It was top-rated in their kitchen and I know why. I highly recommend it because the lid doesn’t come off in your purse if you are packing your vegetables around. I like that it is large but shallow so you don’t have to dig for things in the bottom. It’s plastic (BPA-free) which feels more portable too. I just got this glass snap-top set from Costco though and I love them too. I don’t pack these containers to ballgames or the park but I really like them for my home.
- If your family is dip-depended try getting away from bottled ranch dressing and go for a hummus option!
Isn’t that easy, and awesome, and do-able, and delicious!
I hope you love it!
This post was brought to you by Sabra (they have a new pretty website you should peak at). I’ve been working with them all year long and I just love it. Thank you for choosing to support that brands that I very thoughtfully choose to work with on the blog. I only pick the companies that I know you will use and love because I’m here for you.