Archives for September 2010

7 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat More Veggies

1.  Start early.  Several years ago, I was reading an article about healthy snacks for kids where they mentioned hummus. Comments from parents ranged from “great idea” to “what kid eat hummus?” My first thought was “my kid eats hummus”. I fully attribute this to our early introduction of hummus, along with other foods that kids haven’t traditionally eaten like quinoa, lentils, couscous, and beans. We were just feeding our daughter (and now our son) what our family eats. We didn’t make separate meals for them. And for us, it worked. Both of our kids eat a lot of different healthy foods.

2.  Be the example.  If you aren’t eating veggies, your kids probably won’t either. Put them on the menu for every lunch and dinner. This point was recently proven to me when my daughter was playing house and said “I need a Coke. That’s what mommies drink.” Ugh. If you’ve been reading MGG for long, you know I have a love-hate addiction to Coke. Obviously it’s a bit on the “I love you so much, how do I survive without you?” side right now.

3.  Sneak them in.  When I was making pureed food for our infant, I thought it would be so easy to sneak those pureed fruits and veggies into our meals for added doses of healthiness.  I’m not the genius who came up with this idea, there are plenty of cookbooks that have great suggestions on how to do this like Deceptively Delicious and The Sneaky Chef.

4.  Prepare ahead.  One of my personal goals for 2010 was to eat more veggies myself.  I figured if they were easily available throughout the day, I would snack on them.  So between buying pre-cut veggies and spending time cutting veggies into bite-sized chunks, I put them in glass storage so I would see them every time I opened the refrigerator.  I did begin to eat more of them until I came up with #5 below.

5.  Leave them out.  Because our fruit is stored on the counter, it gets eaten quickly. I figured the same would happen with veggies so I started putting them in pretty glass dishes around the kitchen and living room. This is my current method of extra veggie consumption and it totally works. Both the kids and I are snacking on carrots and tomatoes many times a day.

6.  Grow your ownWith your own backyard garden, kids are bound to be curious.  My daughter (and friends) love to comb the garden to see what they can pick fresh off the vine.  Your garden can be as simple as a tomato plant in a container – that is how I started several years ago.  Each summer, I try to plant something new so we can practice our gardening skills and expand our taste buds.

7.  Get creative.  When I was a child, I would often come home from school to a message on the counter spelling out ‘I Love You’ in chocolate chips.  Of course, we swallowed them as fast as we could.  Although she used chocolate, the theory could apply to veggies, too.  Here are some great ideas resembling Sesame Street characters with veggies like corn, radish, peas, spinach, tomatoes and carrots.

How do YOU sneak more veggies into your family’s diet?


Turning Cardboard Boxes Into Your Child’s Dream Playhouse

Turning Cardboard into a Playhouse - plans and photos

When I was a kid, my mom threw me a 50’s themed birthday party complete with a jukebox made out of an old refrigerator box.  Once the party was over, it stuck around the house for a month or two while we continued to play with it.  Quite a bit of use for an old refrigerator box that was otherwise bound for the recycling bin.

Now that I have my own kids, I can see how busy a simple cardboard box can keep them. Here’s a few products that help turn a cardboard box into anything your child can imagine.

Mr. McGroovy’s Rivets :I love these tools to make building something out of a cardboard box a little easier and more sturdy. You can download plans with step-by-step instructions to build projects like a firetruck, castle, space ship or lemonade stand.    All you need is a few free cardboard boxes, Mr. McGroovy’s Rivets and markers or paint. For more inspiration, check out the photo gallery where people have shared their project photos.


Makedo : I picked up a Makedo spacepod kit at a garage sale and my 5 year old loved it! It came with instructions, stickers for decorating and over 60 connectors to make the space pod. All I had to do was provide the cardboard. Each construction kit comes with similar items to build projects such as a shark, rally car or elephant.


My Very Own House : If building from scratch isn’t your thing, My Very Own House has about a dozen different preprinted designs. This cottage is over 4 feet tall and well loved by toddlers and preschoolers. The outside and inside are white so they can both be decorated. Made from biodegradable, formaldehyde-free cardboard. Include 8 markers.



Box Creations : Another preprinted design but they are more adventurous with pirate ships, space shuttles, carriages and castles. Made in the USA with recycled materials and includes 4 markers.



The Cardboard Box Book : This book would make a fun gift coupled with a few cardboard boxes and some paints or markers.