Vegetables are good for you, but not every kid thinks they taste good. Furthermore, many moms (and dads!) don’t have time to spend trying to get their kids to eat their peas and carrots. The solution? Present those fruits and veggies differently – and fast. Here are three easy tips for getting more of the good stuff into your child’s diet. – Chelsea Karnash
Tip 1: Smoothies
Most kids don’t get too excited about a salad, but what child doesn’t like juice? Or better yet, slushies? Smoothies are an easy, healthy way to get more nutrients into your little one – and they taste delicious. And while you could head to the grocery store to pick up your ingredients then lug out the blender, it’s often a lot easier to just buy a smoothie. Luckily, the Philadelphia area has plenty of restaurants and juice bars that can whip up a healthy treat in a few minutes or less. Most of those spots have even figured out how to combine fruit and vegetables and still make a vitamin-packed drink that tastes good. For example, national chain Planet Smoothie recently created three new “Veggie Love” smoothies that combine fruit with kale, beetroot, spinach, carrots and more. And in Philadelphia, several local spots have fresh, tasty options — a few that come to mind are Yellow Juice Bar in the Rittenhouse area and Sweetgreen in West Philly. For a complete list of the city’s best juice and smoothie bars, check out our guide here.
And if you still want to whip up a smoothie yourself? Here’s a delicious recipe for a “Sunshine Smoothie” that only requires four ingredients.
Tip 2: Healthy Fast-food
There was a time when the words “fast-food” and “healthy” wouldn’t even be strung together in the same sentence. But these days, a number of eateries boasting both convenience and quality have popped up, and Philly is certainly home to a number of them. In Center City, HipCityVeg offers 100% vegan food that tastes way better than anything McDonald’s could ever hope to produce. At this Rittenhouse favorite, you’ll find wraps, salads, shakes, cookies, burgers, fries and more, all made from plant-based products. Stop by there at lunch time for a Groothie (it made our top spots for smoothies list, too!) and a Ziggy burger, and you’ll often find a line out the door. Bonus points to this spot for offering “chicken” nuggets and fries, too.
Another Center City option? Honeygrow, which also has an outpost on City Line Avenue. At this stir-fry and salad mecca, you’ll find fresh, seasonal ingredients in every dish. And if you want to let the kids feel like they’re having a treat but still keep it health-conscious, hit up the “Honey Bar” for fresh whipped cream topped with an array of fruit and various kinds of honey for dessert.
For those closer to West Philly (or Ardmore, where there’s a second Philly area location), Sweetgreen is a good option. Founded in 2007, this chain sources its fresh, organic ingredients from local farms. Choose from nine signature (and filling!) salads or create your own then grab a fresh-pressed juice. If the kids are whining about dessert, you can let them eat it guilt-free since select Sweetgreen locations offer tart frozen yogurt topped with goodies including fresh fruit and granola.
Finally, don’t think you’re out of luck if you live in the ‘burbs. A b.good recently opened in Marlton, NJ, serving up everything from kale and quinoa bowls to burgers and shakes. Information on each menu item is available on their website – including calorie and fat content – so you can be certain your kids are getting something good for them, and the eatery has plans to open four other Philly-area locations soon.
Here are a few other spots in the city that serve healthy food fast:
Tip 3: Disguise Them In Other Foods
It’s the classic caper: Take those super-healthy but not-so-kid-friendly veggies and mix them into a dish that’s normally not-so-good-for-you. The wee ones want brownies? Mix in some avocado. Mac and cheese? Add butternut squash. And for mashed potatoes, sub in some cauliflower. Recently, Missy Chase Lapine, a/k/a “The Sneaky Chef,” shared five healthy recipes that will fool your kids into eating well — think banana ice cream for breakfast and nut- and gluten-free cookies.