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If you struggle to get your family to eat more veggies, here's one strategy we just love: Go heavy on the sauce factor. Pastas, soups, casseroles and chilies are great for camouflaging carrots, celery and spinach. But you really don't have to be sneaky about it. Once you know everyone likes something, sharing what's in it (along with a specific benefit, like carrots being good for your eyes) only encourages their excitement about eating well.
Make it a habit: Designate one night a week to have a saucy supper.
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Freshen up dessert
Have your cake and eat it, too! Simply incorporate some fruit into every dessert. Opt for cobblers and crumbles instead of cookies, or make a Greek-yogurt sundae using berries, coconut and honey. And for a regular weekday after-dinner treat, blend up a banana-strawberry smoothie.
Top tip: Keep your freezer stocked with berries and mango for healthy grab-and-go desserts all year long.
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Pull out the aprons: A new study out of Alberta says kids who help with meal prep are healthier eaters overall. The mini chefs also scored higher in understanding the importance of a balanced diet and enjoyed veggies 10 percent more than classmates who steered clear of the kitchen.
Bottom line: Get kids involved. Let them help pick the recipe for dinner and then give them a job, like measuring the spinach. It'll teach them healthy habits they'll carry into adulthood.
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Lead by example
Inspire kids to eat well by doing it, too! When children see their parents opting for nutritious foods (and avoiding the drive-through), they're more likely to follow suit. Set the stage by filling your plate with protein and veggies, and keep fast food out of sight.
Make it a habit: Plan all meals for the week every Sunday. When you prepare, it's easier to stay on track.
Get this roasted fish with veggie medley recipe at chatelaine.com/healthyfish.
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Theme itAmp up the variety of nutrients - and the fun factor - by turning to different cultures for inspiration at mealtime. Think Mexican-fajita night for healthy fats from avocado and fibre-rich beans; Japanese for miso soup, seaweed and omega-3-rich fish; or Indian for tasty curries loaded with cancer-fighting turmeric.
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Make over takeout nightOn busy evenings, ordering in can save the supper hour -e specially if you go green. Opt for a veggie-heavy pizza with a big salad. Or stir-fries with a rainbow of vegetables. It will get your whole family a few steps closer to eating their five a day. The other bonus of vegetarian takeout night? It's usually more affordable than going meaty.
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American researchers found that when vegetables are served with a small amount of dip, kids are more likely to chow down-by as much as 80 percent. (And that includes those less-loved veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower!)
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Love leftovers for lunch
Cut lunch prep in half (and get out of the same-old-sammie rut) with big-batch cooking on weekends or double-batch cooking at night. Make a large pot of stew or a cold salad - we like whole-grain pasta, quinoa or beans - and divide it into individual-searing containers. Throw in a plain yogurt and some fruit for an easy, balanced brown-bagged lunch.
Make it a habit: Whether you're making soup or roasted chicken breast, always make a little extra for the next day.
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Shop smarterHere's a great way to improve your kids' nutrition know-how: Read labels together. Turn grocery shopping into a healthy-food scavenger hunt by getting them to find cereals and breads that contain over 4g of fibre per serving, yogurt with the least amount of sugar and other foods that are low in sodium. It's an easy (and fun!) way to help make them more aware of what goes into good-for-you foods. Plus, it'll take grocery shopping from chore to adventure.
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Make snacks from scratch
Sure, granola bars and fruit rolls are easy, but they're often packed with processed ingredients you can't even pronounce. And while organic options may be healthier, they can burn a hole in your budget. So why not make your own! Try our Pumpkin Fruit Roll recipe.
Click to see our health editor dish about this story on Cityline.
More from Chatelaine:11 best slimming strategies of all time Eight ways to declutter your diet and eat healthier Eight ways to drink yourself skinny Seven ways to cut calories when eating at a restaurant How to create better meals for your family
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