Getting the good stuff in. Ren’s top 5 tips…

A friend popped in briefly today and said “your recipes and posts look amazing! I feel like such a bad mum ’cause I think, yeah I should do that – and then I go, oh, who’s got time for that? Here kids, have a vegemite sandwich!”
Well, I reminded her firstly that little R will not and never has eaten sandwiches. Anything bread like for that matter. He turns his face away in disgust like I’m trying to feed him poison. (Does he know more than we do?) He used to occasionally munch on a bit of toast when he was very small but only really to suck the butter off. So sandwiches were never an option for me with him. J, 4yrs, loves sandwiches but depending on the bread, they don’t always love him. Although generally more expensive, I’ve found spelt or kamut flour breads or mountain bread wraps are the best option on the digestive front with no hidden nasties. (My local food works supermarket has a great range called “Ancient Grains.”) Or of course, you can bake your own.
The other factor to note is that with two busy boys, my house looks like a bomb has hit it most days. I’m busy failing in all sorts of other areas too! Different people, different priorities 🙂
But she’s not the first frazzled mum to ask me “how?” or “when?” so these are my top 5 tips for getting the good stuff into you and your family:

1. Keep a container of veggie sticks in the fridge (carrot, capsicums, cucumber, celery, fresh green beans)

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Chop up enough to last the week on a Sunday night while you’re watching 60 minutes and then when you or your munchkins are sniffing around for a snack, plop them on a plate with some dip and some plain rice crackers if you need to ease them into the veggie idea. (the Sakata ones are the only brand not covered in artificial junk) The dip pictured above is my ‘best of a bad bunch choice’ for when I haven’t made my own, as its list of ingredients is actually recognisable foods and it’s preservative free. Making your own dips however, is a much better option. (I will post some recipes soon but in the meantime, feel free to share your favourites with the rest of us!)

2. Make veggie soup.

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Now, you’ve already got a whole lot of veggies out that you’ve been busy chopping up for snacks, so why not roughly chop some more and throw them in the slow cooker with a diced onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, some dried herbs, a tin of tomatoes (try to find a brand that don’t line their cans with BPA. Alternatively, use a jar/bottle of passata.) and a litre or three of nourishing homemade stock. (Depending on how many veggies you’ve cut up.) Cook on low overnight and ladle into jars in the morning. (It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or for at least 3 months in the freezer. Then simply heat and serve for an easy winter lunch or snack. If your kids won’t eat it chunky like this, purée in the blender first and give it to them in a mug. I like to serve this with something protein based to keep them full. For example: hard boiled eggs, some leftover meat from dinner the night before or J’s favourite: a ham roll up – a slice of Istra Ham (ethically farmed, preservative free) rolled up in a slice of buttered mountain bread.

3. If dinner includes bones, make stock

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Check out my post here about how to create a rich, nourishing homemade broth/stock.

4.Keep your juicer/blender on the bench otherwise you’ll never use them. And pre-prepare fruit and veggies

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These days I buy two bags of delicious oranges a week -in season, fresh, juicy and perfect for boosting your vitamin C during winter. One bag i keep for whole fruit snacks and one to peel and store in the fridge for juice/smoothies. (It’s the hospitality training in me!) Celery is a pain to store in the fridge anyway so before you put it away with your groceries, rinse it and chop lengths into halves. Bananas going brown? Peel them, slice and freeze for smoothies and ice cream. You get the idea.

5. Always make more than you need

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I always make our smoothies the night before when the kids are in bed and sanity is returning. When little people aren’t pestering you, EVERYTHING is easier to prepare. And I ALWAYS make enough for two days unless it is quite acidic. (With lemons/oranges)
The https://renlikesred.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/breakfast-moothie/ keeps really well for two days but no longer. Always make double batches of casseroles, stews and soups, roast extra veggies for lunch the next day, cook extra chicken drumsticks to shred for tomorrow etc… And make sure you use everything up!

So there you have it, these are some of the ways I try to stay as organised as possible so I always have something nourishing to feed my hungry little monsters.
Would love to hear some of your tips!

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2 thoughts on “Getting the good stuff in. Ren’s top 5 tips…

  1. Love the first one Ren, I’m taking that one. I might end up eating all the celery and beans etc myself at first (carrot, cucumber and capsicum are currently being eaten by my two) but I’m hoping leading by example will get them there in the end. I persist with soup but have never had success getting Miss Four to touch it. I’m with you completely on the stock front (I have a well stocked freezer with my jars of stock right now) and the smoothies are my new favourite breakfast (again leading by example, but Miss Two did help me finish this morning’s glass). I love the slow cooker for making enough for two meals and for loading meals with lots of veg.

    In general though I struggle to get Miss Four to eat veg so I have two tips. The first is to hide veg as much as you can (ie grated carrot and zucchini in everything possible, taco meat, spag sauce, meat loaf or rissoles. The Vegie Smugglers website has some great recipes that have worked for me. Then I add veg I know they like cut into visible pieces (like capsicum and mushrooms) so they can see some vegetables but not the ones that will turn them off eating altogether. The second one is if you’re having something with salad or vegetable on the side (like grilled meat or fish etc) put each different vegetable in a different dish or section of dish (I have a couple of those divided plates usually used for antipasto type things that are good for this) so that the kids can choose what they want and how much of each they want. We have rules like they have to choose at least one or two, or that they have to have at least one piece (small) from each section to taste it. Miss Two likes all sorts but especially goes for the broccoli and Miss Four sticks to the carrot mainly.

    I’ll be looking out for your post on dips, my favourite quick dip is beetroot relish (home made, but could be a good quality bought one) with greek yogurt, either just mixed through, or whizzed in the mini processor for a couple of seconds to make it smoother (better for kids). The girls like this because the relish is quite sweet and it’s PINK.

    • Glad you like the 1st one Barb! I was really surprised how much j loves munching on the veggie sticks. R doesn’t eat as much of it but he always has a bite of whatever is on the plate just to make sure he’s not missing out on anything! Yes, I too grate zucchini and carrot into everything! Have been following veggie smugglers on fb for a little while which has definitely sparked some great ideas. Pretty sure I found that page through you. Craig doesn’t like soup at all (unless its extremely chunky, manly, basically stew) so I find it easier to make it for lunches or I’d miss out altogether! My boys definitely prefer it smooth from a mug or even a sippy cup while rugged up on the couch watching toy story 🙂 I love beetroot dip but the others aren’t so keen – though R is going through a ‘pointing out everything pink and purple phase’ so it might be a good time to try it! Btw, thanks for the lovely shout out. Hope your weekend is awesome!

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