Photo by Riley Kaminer

Eating a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables is important to a healthy lifestyle, but try explaining that concept to a 3-year-old. After a busy holiday season most parents are determined to start the new year off by feeding their families better. But how do you get your kids to eat more veggies without a fight? Involve your child in the process, let them help you do some of the shopping and let them help you cook; they’ll enjoy the special attention and it’s fun! Another tip: cut back on the snacking before dinner, your kids will have more of an appetite and in turn be more open to trying new foods.

Another way you can get your kids to eat more veggies is to try changing your presentation. Pinterest and the Food Network’s website are great places to find creative recipes to help you “trick” your little ones into eating vegetables and fruits without the usual frustration.

Here are a couple we can’t wait to try out.

Image Source: Food Network

Image Source: Food Network

Mini Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pies

Vegetable oil cooking spray
Pot Pie Filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 small store-bought rotisserie chicken breast, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup meat)
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces, steamed (about 2 ounces)

To Assemble
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Two 10-inch round unfold-and-bake frozen pie crusts, thawed
1 large egg
Special equipment: 12-cup mini-muffin pan; 3-inch round cookie cutter; 2-inch round cookie cutter

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 12-count mini-muffin pan with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

For the pot pie filling: Melt the butter in a 1-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, Parmesan, chicken and broccoli.

For assembly: On a lightly-floured work surface, roll out the dough 1/8-inch thick. Using the 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 12 pieces of dough. Using the 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out another 12 pieces of dough. Press the large rounds of dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spoon the sauce into the pastry.

Combine the egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl, using a fork. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg mixture and place the remaining pieces of dough on top. Lightly press the edges of the dough together to seal. Press around the edges of the pies using the tines of a fork. Brush the tops of each pie with the beaten egg. Cut a 1/2-inch-long slit into the top of the pies using a paring knife. Bake until the tops are golden and the filling is bubbling, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and serve.


Image Source: Treehugger

Image Source: Treehugger

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

4 ripe avocados
1 cup agave nectar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Remove flesh from avocados and and cut into pieces, place all ingredients in a stand mixer (or food processor) and blend until light and smooth. Chill, top with Greek yogurt or vegan topping, and enjoy.

Santa Rita Ranch is a family-friendly community where you can raise your kids surrounded by the beauty of Texas Hill Country. Visit us today and find out how we fit into your healthy lifestyle.