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My son is a grazer.
Do you have one of those in your family? Gets full quickly at meals and half an hour later is hungry? Grabs a couple crackers, then a piece of toast, then an apple, then…you get the idea.
He’s constantly sneaking into the kitchen as if I can’t hear him. Isn’t it funny how they don’t think sound travels? I can hear the string cheese wrapper rip open, buddy! ☺
Add to the mix that we educate our kids at home, so we have a child who is consistently reaching into the fridge or cupboard for a handful to eat.
And a younger brother who is suddenly “hungry” whenever he sees his big brother eating.
Of course we want our kids to eat when they’re hungry, but we also wanted to make sure our kids had consistent access to healthy snack choices. We don’t want our kids to fill themselves on empty carbohydrates or sugary snacks.
Solution? The Veggie Box.
I first read about the veggie box on Bless This Mess and it has changed our snack habits forever. As soon as we started making a Veggie Box weekly, our vegetable intake increased by leaps and bounds. It’s helped our kids eat more vegetables. I like knowing our kids are creating healthy habits! As they grow up, I want them to think of vegetables at snack time, not chips like I tend to do. 😃
Here’s how it works:
1. Buy a bunch of veggies.
Some vegetables are staples in our box, while others rotate through. Our most common vegetables are:
- Carrots (full-sized carrots, peeled and cut)
- Celery sticks
- Broccoli florets
- Red, yellow, green peppers (seeded and sliced) Sometimes, we buy sweet mini peppers and cut them into wedges.
- Cucumber slices
- Cherry tomatoes
- Sugar snap peas
We’ve found that each kid has their favorites and least favorites, but a good assortment keeps everyone happy. If we’re using celery (a FAVORITE of our daughter, not so much our sons), we’ll balance it with green pepper (our boys’ favorites, but definitely not our daughter’s).
2. Prep the Veggie Box
On the weekend, I wash, peel, cut & slice the veggies. My two oldest kids love to help with the washing, peeling, and arranging veggies in the box. The veggies go in a 9×13 pan such as this.
3. Kids eat more vegetables throughout the week.
I set the Veggie Box on the table for lunches. I pull it out for snack time. We pull some veggies into a travel container to take with on Family Fun Days or as a snack before/after sports practices.
The rest of the day, the Veggie Box sits on our fridge, typically with the lid askew from little hands reaching into it throughout the day — but I’m fine with it. I don’t restrict access to the Veggie Box.
Side note: Personally, our family does not use dip with our Veggie Box. We’d like our kids to learn to eat raw veggies without having to cover up the taste with dip. We’ve had good success with our kids eating raw veggies plain, but I know that’s not always the case. A good alternative to using a dressing or dip is to use hummus.
4. Roast the leftovers.
At the end of the week, the Veggie Box is typically gone. If it’s not, I roast the leftovers for dinner. I spread the leftovers on a pan, sprinkle a little oil & sea salt on them, and roast them at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. YUM!
I love the entire process of the Veggie Box because nothing goes to waste — the scraps, the veggies, or the leftovers. Everything plays a part in creating healthy habits for our family!
It really has changed so much of our snacking flow throughout the week. Once, when I was sick, we went about 10 days with a veggie box and, as soon as I got better, our kids were begging for one.
Did you hear that? They missed eating raw veggies. Love!