Spring Recipes and Food Tips for Busy Moms and Picky Kids
The farmers’ markets and grocery stores are flooded with a rainbow of colorful spring produce. Take advantage of the economical seasonal goodies before cold weather sets back in and halts the lush growing season. Let the kids help wash, prep, and eat the fruits and vegetables. Here are a few easy spring recipes to get started!
Choosing Fresh Produce
When you’re a busy mom, you can’t spend hours lingering over produce displays. Instead, use your senses to quickly choose the best fruits and vegetables for your family. Head to the sale bin and the seasonal produce. In spring, strawberries, asparagus, and bell peppers are the best buys because they are what is in season.
Start by visually examining and feeling the food. Even coloring, no wrinkles, and little to no bruising is best. Does the produce feel mushy or rock-hard? Leave it be. Look for firm produce that slightly gives when pressed. Then smell it. Is there a pleasant aroma? If there’s no scent, it’s not mature, which means it will lack flavor and be a waste of money. If the odor is pungent or foul—keep shopping; that produce is overripe or rotting. Remember to use coupons to save on your grocery bill when stocking up on fresh produce for all of your spring recipes.
Simple Vegetable Preparation
Now put that fresh spring produce to use in the kitchen. If the kiddos are picky about what’s on their plates, simply disguise it. You’re not saving any money if the food lands in the trash can after dinner.
Add a handful of fresh, chopped bell peppers to pasta sauce, then blend the sauce with a stick blender until smooth. Or, add cubes of roasted turnips and carrots to cubes of roasted potatoes for simple finger foods.
Make the kids roll-up sandwiches using whole grain tortillas. After laying slices of deli meats and cheeses on the tortillas, add thinly sliced garden-fresh tomatoes. Roll up the sandwiches so the ingredients aren’t visible, and voila! Making homemade sandwiches costs much less than stuffing pre-made lunch packs into your child’s backpack.
Helping Kids Eat Fruit
If your kids turn up their noses at fruits, make them irresistible. Start by filling their cups with a healthy homemade fruit juice. Try juicing carrots, apples, and lemons for a refreshing morning drink with a bright orange color the kids will love. As a bonus, carrots are usually on deep discount during the spring since they mature and harvest quickly.
In the spring, strawberries are plentiful and economical. Make them kid-friendly by chopping off the green leaves and hollowing out the middle of the berry. Fill each one with strawberry yogurt. The kids won’t be able to resist these tasty treats.
Finally, offer the little ones variations on apple sauce. Any soft fruit can be made into a sauce. Try cooking down peeled, chopped pears to make pear sauce. Or, make a delicious berry sauce with a mixture of raspberries and blackberries to drizzle on pancakes. Picking up berries in bulk at the farmers’ market will keep your grocery bill down and your kids smiling.