Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Summer Veg Out Part III: EASY & EATEN

Okay, so we've talked about finding vegetables and fruits locally and on the cheap. Now that your fridge is full of them, how do you get the kids to actually eat them all summer?

I think one of the keys is to make fruits and vegetables the number one most visible and easy-to-reach food items in the house. Don't leave them tucked away in the crisper drawer, unwashed in plastic bags. If they're on the counter when the kids run by, lookin' cool, crisp, and ready-to-go, kids are more likely to grab and eat them. Of course, it also helps to ditch the junk food or at least keep it out-of-sight, and perhaps rule out other foods for between-meal snacking.

But even though I think they should be out and available, I don't want them to get dry, wilty, or touched by flies. Yuck! This year I stumbled across a great solution at Bed Bath & Beyond: this Condiments on Ice tray with five 2-cup compartments. It has a clear lid that leaves the goodies visible and an ice compartment to keep everything cool. (They also have an Appetizers on Ice tray; I liked the dip holder, but the tray doesn't have a lid, which is a must for me, what with the whole fly touching issue).

Each late morning or early afternoon I fill the bottom of the tray with fresh ice and load it with whatever fruits and vegetables I have on hand. When the ice gets melty I pour off the water and add a bit more; at the end of the day I add whatever's uneaten to dinner or save it for leftover soup.

The options of what to put in this thing are almost endless. Here are three pictures to give you some ideas:

(1) baby cucumber spears, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, organic strawberries and green grapes.

(2) cucumber slices, romaine leaves, sugar snaps, baby carrots, jicama and apple slices (in one container with a small plastic divider), and green grapes.

(3)baby carrots, grape tomatoes, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, jicama, and baby bananas.

The daily Filling-of- the-Tray has become quite an event at our house, especially when the neighborhood kids are over. I tell you, I'm not sure why everyone insists that kids won't eat fruits and vegetables and you have to hand out candy and popsicles if you want them to like you. I've watched these containers empty in a matter of minutes. One little girl ate almost an entire cup of sugar snap peas before she stopped and held one up to me. "What are these?" she asked.

36 comments:

Eesh said...

Thats the greatest idea ever! I wish we had Bed, Bath and Beyond here in Canada.

I love the little girl who ate all the peas not even knowing what they were!

Bronwyn Schweigerdt said...

You are such a resourceful mom! That's a great idea.

I've also found that letting my 4- year-old get hungry is a great way to get her to eat fresh fruit and vegetables. BTW: same goes for me! :)

ladyloo said...

Forget the kids! This would be perfect for the huz and I! All about the immediate gratification in this house!

Paulina said...

What a great idea!

Planet Kat said...

What a great idea! My son currently has a small Bento that I've been keeping packed with fruit and veggies. He likes it that "his" box always has yummies in it, is always available and has started to ask to help me pack it - and this is like a family fun-pack. Wheee!

Melinda said...

Coming out of longtime lurkdom to say that that is the best idea ever... stuff goes bad fast in the summer in Phoenix and I'm def. going to run out & get me one of these! Thanks for the great idea.

* spryte said...

Yay, the cool tray I saw in your Biggest Lunch Box post! What a great idea - I'm definitely heading down to BB&B to get one. We often have potluck lunches at my office and this would work well for those. (The lid - besides blocking flies - also makes for a good sneeze guard. Ew!)

Sarah said...

That is such a great idea, even for my adult family. We all love fruit, but sometimes we grab the snack box since its just too convenient. This is a great idea, and the lid is great!

And too cute with the little girl, snap peas are one of my favorite treats, just picked some up from the local farmer's market. Delish!

Sanja said...

That is such a great idea. There are no Bed, Bath & Beyond's around here, but I should be able to make something like this myself.

Dayna said...

I am loving this! Thumbs up on a great idea!

Hapamama said...

Thank you for this, it's a great idea. I appreciate this series in your blog and really liked the first one about saving money. It helped relieve a lot of mommy guilt for me! Thanks again for your time and being a resource for me and my family!

Danae said...

I've been browsing your blog and enjoyed the colorful posts and ideas. I saw your post about local fresh produce and this caught my eye, when I realized you are from Kennewick. I just moved to Tri-Cities, and I was curious which of the farmer's markets you would recommend - Kennewick, Pasco, or Richland? It looks like there's on in each place and I was hoping to ask someone who might know! :)

Jennifershmoo said...

Welcome to the Tri-Cities, Danae! The farmer's market in Pasco is huge; it's the big one that most people go to. There are a ton of vendors there, but get there early if you want to avoid big crowds and snag some berries before they're all gone.

The one in Kennewick is really, really small. I think they're still struggling to get it going. It's nice to support them, but I've gotten there and found they just didn't have most of what I was looking for. So they would be my last choice.

I haven't been to the one in Richland yet myself, but everyone I speak to who goes there loves it and prefers it to Pasco. It's not as big as the one in Pasco, but it's got everything you might be looking for and is not as crowded.

Happy shopping!

me said...

FYI, Amazon.com has them too, and I think even with shipping they're probably close to the same price, maybe even a bit cheaper.

* spryte said...

I see on the manufacturer's site that they also have a nifty Salad-On-Ice bowl with a domed lid and serving utensils. See it here: http://www.prodyne.com/ab3d.htm. That's another I might pick up, I can't stand when salads sit out for a while and get wilted...ick!

Christina Whiskhands said...

What can I say other than 'You OWN!"? Nothing, really. "They" say that kids like things with fun textures and bright colors - no one ever said that meant synthetic and nutrition-less. Thanks for, well, being an awesome vegan mama blogger ;)

Cristina said...

This is such a great idea. I'm new to your blog but loving it!

Cristina
Green Mom Finds
www.greenmomfinds.com

Damsel said...

Clicked over from Mir at Cornered Office... This is a GREAT idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

DailySAHM said...

I'm glad I saved that 20% off coupon from BB&B that came in the mail the other day. Thanks for the great idea. It would be interesting to see how much this product's sales go up since you posting this! BB&B should give you a cut of the sales.

Danae said...

Thanks for the info on the farmer's markets - that was extremely helpful! :) I will have to check out either the Richland or Pasco one this coming week. I'm really excited about those fresh fruits and veggies!

Janet said...

I love that your neighborhood kids can eat "vegan snacks" and not even realize it. The tray is really cute, too :)

M.C.T. said...

This is just an excellent idea. I don't have kids, but I have *me* and convenience is a critical issue in my diet :-).I am thrilled to hear your anecdotal confirmation that kids like veggies, especially if they're presented in a way that offers choice and control. Thanks so much for your thoughtful and useful tips, Jennifer!

Latayy said...

I am new to your blog and I love it.
It is good to know other vegans worldwide
Check out my new blog
I hope you like it

Tay
http://barbadianvegan.blogspot.com/

springsandwells said...

awesome idea Jennifershmoo.
I'm gonna try some of this on my nephew. It just might work. Poor kid is being raised with the most regretable dietary patterns.... He DOES like sugar snap peas though!
:)

Chris Sexton said...

What a great idea - and for anyone in the UK, Amazon.co.uk have them. Have just ordered one for myself.

babyhellfire said...

GENIUS!
Perfect for My 3yr old is going through an independance thing-she LOVES being able to get food for herself.

Mary said...

Fantastic idea! We just relocated from Alaska to Florida and were wondering about healthy outdoor snacks to have on hand. This idea really helps us to keep our local produce on hand for the kids to enjoy. Thanks so much!!

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Wheeler's Frozen Dessert said...

That's a great idea! Cute little veggie boxes!

Silly Stuff said...

Thanks for the great idea! My boys were so excited that they had free reign on the snacks, and are looking forward to trying out new fruits/veggies in their "snack bar". If you don't live near a BB&B you can order one here too http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=14111611

Eyes As Windows said...

This is such a good idea, I always explore stores like that... or try The Container Store. Oh I bet you'd have fun with that!

Lisa said...

...thanks for taking the time to do what you do...we've been vegan or vegetarian on and off for the last 18 years...but now we're trying to really commit to it...my "Condiments-on-Ice" tray arrived yesterday, and although we usually snack on fruits&vegs anyway, the tray makes it all the more easy, fun and attractive! My 8 yr.old son was like a kid in the proverbial "candy store"! Thanks again!!

Daelyn said...

Very cool idea! :-)

Cindy said...

I picked one of these up at Bed Bath and Beyond today...they are 25% off right now!!!

info said...

Great idea!

I have started a new local magazine and website promoting local Tri-Cities, Wa restaurants and bars. We have a section where we list restaurants that offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Being from Kennewick, Wa do you have any recommendations you would like to share? Please contact me with your suggestions on http://www.TasteTriCities.com

Thank you for your assistance.

TAMI said...

I just wanted to thank you for all your wonderful ideas. You have given me good ideas on how to keep my vegan fridge stocked up and you have awesome ideas on how to put together meals and recipes! I have been a vegetarian for almost 20 years and am slowly becoming vegan due to my high cholesterol.
please keep your web pages going. you keep me inspired to be healthy and not become a carb-a-tarian, and a fast food junkie!
from Tami O'Brien