Eating Vegetables

So, entrees aren’t everything. Most of us want to keep up or increase the level of fresh vegetables in our diet, but they can get old without variety. And it can be hard to convince some family members to enjoy them!


You can use the same principle as the pre-packaged frozen steamer packs of veggies with fresh vegetables from the store or farmers market. Green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, medleys with peppers and carrots all work well with this. Use a saucepan with an inch of water and a tool like this or a metal colander, to keep the vegetables all out of the water and only in the steam as the water boils. Boil just until vegetables are done. Serve with a little butter or olive oil and seasoning.


We have already mentioned this, but I’d like to bring it up again as a reminder.

Line a cookie sheet with foil, coat chopped (or smaller, like broccoli florets or Brussel sprouts) vegetables with olive oil, spread out on cookie sheet, sprinkle with seasoning, and place in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees. Timing depends on your oven and the thickness of the vegetables, but it is generally around 15-20 minutes, so experiment until you are comfortable.

Play around with combinations and seasoning blends, or find one or two that work for you and use them regularly. A balsamic vinaigrette can also jazz up the taste. Either way, make the option work for you.

This is a great way to try vegetables that are new to you or you may have tried other ways before and didn’t like. (For example, I hear radishes are good this way.) I can’t stand Brussel sprouts usually, but a friend roasted some to share one evening. Ever since, I could devour the whole pan myself. They are so good!

Slow Cooker

It is also an option to cook root vegetables in your slow cooker. You can mix them with meat (like a roast) or just cook them with seasoning for a side dish. Put some liquid in with them, to prevent drying out, but you do not need to cover them with water or broth.


A little butter or olive oil, a nonstick sauté or frying pan, and you are good to go. You can throw in a little minced garlic or chopped onion as you warm up the butter or oil. When the butter is melted or the oil is warm, add your clean and chopped veggies. This is good for fresh green beans, sugar snap peas, and asparagus.


The combinations are almost endless when it comes to salads. Chop up what you have, whatever is in season, and enjoy! With fresh vegetables, you don’t even need lettuce to have a great mix. You can even branch out into fruits (dried or fresh) and nuts.

Cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and balsamic vinegar or Italian dressing are delicious. Basil or dill can be fresh herbal seasoning for that mix also.

Kids often love dipping, so pile up the fresh vegetables, set out a good dressing and let them go to town.

Composing a Meal

You don’t have to be an artist or gourmet chef to plate an attractive and nutritious meal for your family.

I’ll say it again: You don’t have to be artistically gifted or professionally trained to put together a beautiful, balanced meal.

You just need to consider some basic principles.

Food Groups

When you are meal planning, take a minute to be sure you are covering the major food groups: protein, carbs, fruits/vegetables. A meal that is carb heavy is missing some nutrients. A meal that is entirely produce will not last very long, since our bodies metabolize that quickly. Your menu needs all three to be a balanced meal.


God created us to enjoy beauty. When you include beautiful colors on the plate, your eye is attracted to the arrangement, and then you are naturally drawn to the nutritional benefit scattered throughout the colors. For a breakdown of the benefits associated with each color group, see this article.


It is good to mix up textures on a plate. You don’t want a meal that is entirely mushy or a plate full of dry foods. Keep in mind the consistency of your menu items as you put them together in your meal plan.

If you can run quickly through these three things as you choose your meals, you will be able to serve an appealing plate that also includes a variety of the nutritional needs for the day. Remember, as my mother always said, variety is the spice of life!