Between three pregnancies, breastfeed and potty training my now-5-year old when she had issues, we have added a lot more produce to our diets than we ate before kids. Fruits and vegetables account for about 1/3 to 1/2 of our weekly grocery tab, including canned in juice fruit, dried fruits and frozen veggies. Buying it all is easy, it is making sure it all gets eaten before it all goes bad that is the tricky part.
Every week, we head to HEB, and most weeks Sprouts too, for groceries. We bring the groceries home and put them away. The key I have found to make sure the produce groceries get eaten before they go bad is to chop and store them ready to eat in the fridge.
Snack friendly fruits and veggies, like bananas and berries seem to go fastest. My 3-year-old helps me peel cucumbers and carrots and watched me wash and chop lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, etc. for the fridge.
We eat these raw in salads, as dinner or lunch sides, or added to main courses. I have also set out the finger-food veggies with ranch dip before dinner while I cook, and let the kids eat their veggies before dinner; sneaky, huh? Veggies are fun, with all the different colors, textures and shapes. We even found a funky carrot this week that looks like Barbie legs. My toddler was moving the legs to “walk” them and broke them, but I managed to take a picture anyway 🙂
We have been experimenting with growing some of our own in the backyard that past two summers. I have purchased seeds online, at Walgreens for $0.20 when they go on sale, and saved from produce we eat. Earlier this week, I saved our berries and egg cartons and we planted bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and corn for our garden this year. We also toss all of our veggie scraps into compost for garden fertilizer later. Hopefully, we will have our own produce department in the backyard in 2-3 months, if I can remember to water it! The girls love to watch the plants grow, water them, see the flowers, and watch the little veggies grow and ripen. Involving your kids in gardening has so many educational applications, especially for science and math ,they will get to watch what they plant grow and then eat it, plus it is just plain fun to get their hands dirty 🙂