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By Citizen Reporter


How to sneak veggies into your child’s meals

Children often prefer uncooked vegetables because they can dip them in tzatziki, hummus, salsa or peanut butter.

The obesity rate amongst South African children is increasing at an alarming rate, largely due to unhealthy eating habits.

It’s recommended that children (and adults) eat at least five portions of different vegetables and fruits a day.  But, parents can attest, it’s sometimes a bit difficult to sneak that goodness into a meal.

With National Obesity Week this week, Leanne Kiezer, a registered dietitian at Pick n Pay, has provided seven creative ways for parents to sneak extra vegetables into their child’s meals and snacks.

Add vegetables to their favourite meal: Mix peas in macaroni cheese; add shredded carrots to spaghetti bolognaise sauce, or stir beetroot and zucchini noodles into a regular spaghetti pasta. Make a pizza with a wholewheat pita bread base and top it with vegetables.

Picture: iStock

Make it interesting: Puree vegetables and add them to rice and mashed potato for extra colour.

Fortify saucy meals: Add pureed vegetables to soups, stews and casseroles.

Offer raw finger foods: Children often prefer uncooked vegetables. They can dip them in tzatziki, hummus, salsa or peanut butter.

Use bright colour: Steam or microwave veggies in a small amount of water, or stir-fry in a little oil. Keep cooking time to a minimum to ensure the colours stay bright and the nutrients intact.

Picture: iStock

Start a veggie club: Taste vegetables from A to Z, ticking off letters of the alphabet as you go. As you shop, ask children to identify vegetables corresponding with each letter.

Make it a fun: Find a children’s book featuring vegetables as characters, then as you read the story, together taste the vegetables.

Over 200 Pick n Pay stores across the country now offer free fruit to shoppers’ children under the age of 12

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