Winning the Fruit and Vegetable Battle



“Eat your broccoli… eat your peppers… eat your banana…”  The struggle to get kids to eat their fruits and vegetables (F & V) is constant.  We recently asked our pediatrician to get in the battle, asking him to very clearly point out how important fruits and vegetables are to eat.  While his recommendation helped, ultimately it is still up to me and my husband to get our four year old, Elsie, to eat well.  So, I have enlisted some of my favorite kitchen gadgets to make F & V more appealing.  

Blender, smoothie maker, or food processor (whatever you have to pulverize food into mush)


I am one of those wives that is more than okay with receiving appliances for anniversary presents.  You could imagine my excitement when my husband gave me a Vitamix for our fifth anniversary.  This blender has been a great addition to my kitchen arsenal.  In our house, the most likely product from the Vitamix is a smoothie.  If it weren’t for the change in color that comes by adding greens, I am pretty sure Elsie would never know there was spinach or kale in her smoothie.  Ultimately, it doesn’t matter because she loves to help make smoothies — she particularly loves using the “puncher” (her term, not mine) to mush everything into the bottom.  Another great use for a blender is to make soups.  A simple tomato soup can be made so much more nutritious by mixing a variety of other vegetables into it (leafy greens, squash, or onions).  

I am so excited to start making baby food for our five month old, Charlotte.  I made the majority of Elsie’s baby food when she was younger. Incorporating fruits and vegetables into a child’s nutrition at a young age is key to developing lifelong healthy eating habits.  I often use the website Wholesome Baby as a guide for making baby food.

Popsicle Molds


Popsicle making has come a long ways since I was a kid (fill ice cube tray with juice, cover with aluminum foil, and insert Popsicle sticks).  What I mean by that is, there are really cool Popsicle molds out there!  I have the simple ball shaped mold made by Zoku (shown above).  Zoku also makes molds in the shape of rockets, dinosaurs, fish, and frogs.  The molds are nice and big so that you can add pieces of whole fruit in with the Popsicle mix.  The only downside to making homemade Popsicles is waiting for them to freeze :). 



What kid doesn’t love pasta?  When you make vegetables and feel like pasta (in texture) kids are so much more likely to eat them.  The spiralizer is a recent addition to my kitchen gadgets.  I know I am late to the the spiralizer party because of the amount of different recipes out there for zucchini pasta or “zoodles”.  I have yet to try sweet potato or winter squash spirals, but the recipes for those are endless, too.  

Apple peeler and corer


A few years ago (pre-kids) I was making homemade applesauce and nearly cut off the tip of my thumb with the peeler.  After that incident, my more-than-generous parents bought me an apple peeler and corer.  Since having kids this gadget has gotten more use.  During the fall I will frequently make homemade applesauce and this gadget makes prepping the apples a breeze.  My co-contributor, Anne, recently mentioned that her kids are so much more willing to eat apples when they come off of the peeler/corer.  This tool also works pretty well for sweet potatoes to make pretty spiraled “fries”.

I am trying less and less to “hide” F & V in other foods.  I want my girls to know what foods they like, so that they ask for healthier foods. While this is not a comprehensive list of gadgets that make F & V more fun, these are the ones that have worked for me.  Which ones have worked for you?   

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Nicki was born in Madison and raised just outside of the city on a dairy farm. She met her wonderful husband, Dan, while attending college at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. She obtained her Master's degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology and worked for seven years in Cardiac Rehabilitation. Her claim to fame is that she could help heal hearts. Nicki and Dan became proud parents in September 2012 when their spunky daughter, Elsie, was born. Their sweet baby, Charlotte, was born in May 2016. Following Charlotte's arrival, Nicki and Dan moved to Green Bay so that Dan could take a job transfer and Nicki could become a full-time stay-at-home mom. In her free time, Nicki enjoys attempting pinterest projects (keyword: attempting), trying out new coffee shops, taking her labradoodle for walks, and exploring all Titletown has to offer.