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News • 11 April 2024

Fun ways to boost veggie intake for your kids during school holidays

Ah, school holidays: a time when the kitchen becomes the epicentre of endless hunger cravings and snack searches. If you find yourself navigating through a maze of empty snack packets or fulfilling constant food requests, you're not alone. 

The disruption of routine during school breaks often leads to more snacking and indulgence in less-than-ideal food choices. However, with a bit of imagination and some strategic planning, we can pivot towards healthier snacking habits, especially when it comes to vegetables.

Recent studies reveal a whopping 9 out of 10 Australian kids between the ages of 5 to 14 aren't eating the recommended five servings of vegetables daily. This isn't just about missing out on essential nutrients crucial for growth and development; it's also about forgoing the opportunity to instil lifelong healthy eating habits.

But it's not all doom and gloom. There are effective and enjoyable ways to increase veggie intake to make  both you and your kids happy. Here's how to keep the holiday spirit alive and well-nourished with vegetables.

1. Keep the Fridge and Pantry Ready for Action

Just because it's holiday time doesn't mean your kitchen has to turn into a snack free-for-all zone. Keep the structure of mealtimes as close to the school term routine as possible. Stock your fridge and pantry with veggie-packed snacks at your kid’s eye level so they’re easy to reach. Consider options like veggie sticks with hummus, savoury muffins loaded with grated veggies, or even fruit and vegetable smoothies. Having a variety of fresh and frozen vegetables on hand makes it easier to incorporate them into meals and snacks throughout the day.

2. Plan for Adventure – and Take Veggies with You

School holidays are perfect for family outings and adventures. Whether it's a beach day, a hike, or a park visit, planning ahead means you can pack nutritious snacks to take on the go. Experiment with fun recipes that are easy to transport and exciting to eat, like rainbow vegetable wraps or beetroot hummus for dipping. Yummy!

3. Invite Kids into the Kitchen

Getting kids involved in meal preparation is a game-changer. School holidays offer the perfect opportunity to engage them in cooking activities. Incorporate vegetables into your cooking sessions by "veggie-boosting" their favourite recipes. Add grated or finely chopped vegetables to pasta sauces, burger patties, or even baked goods. This hands-on experience not only familiarises them with a variety of vegetables but also makes them more willing to try new foods.

4. Make Veggie Consumption a Fun Challenge

Turn vegetable eating into a playful competition or a creative project. Challenge family members to come up with the most inventive way to prepare or incorporate a vegetable into a meal. Or, for younger kids, organise a veggie-themed craft day where they can create art with vegetables before eating their creations. For example, constructing a veggie pizza with a rainbow of toppings can be both an artistic activity and a delicious, nutritious meal.

5. Create Unforgettable Memories with Healthy Recipes

The school holidays are an invaluable time for making memories with your loved ones. Make the most of this time by creating joyful moments and fostering healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Remember, incorporating more veggies into your kids' diet doesn't have to be a chore for you or them. With these tips and a little creativity, you can ensure your kids enjoy a healthy, vegetable-rich diet—even during the school holidays!

This general information, while intended to be helpful, is not individual health advice. Always consult a healthcare professional before making health decisions. While the information is curated with care, its accuracy, completeness, or recency cannot be guaranteed. We cannot be held responsible for any loss incurred from acting on this information. Content developed in partnership with Health and Wellbeing Queensland.

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11 April 2024