Fall is a spectacular time of year to capitalize on fresh produce. Vegetables like sweet potatoes, zucchini, squash, and cauliflower are wonderful editions to any mealtime – adding a nutritious boost to keep you and your family full and healthy. Here are some of the benefits of each of these delectable ingredients, and some recipes that your whole family will enjoy!
These power packed root vegetables make a spectacular side dish or addition to any main course! Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin A to promote healthy blood sugar levels, support eye health, and even provide anti-inflammatory properties. Not to mention, they’re delicious! Here are some healthy kid friendly recipes featuring sweet potatoes that will keep everybody happy.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Sweet Potatoes (3 large should feed a family of 3-4, add more for larger families or larger servings)
- Corn Starch
- Coconut or Olive Oil
*This recipe varies based on the amount and size of the sweet potatoes you use.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
- Wash and chop your sweet potatoes into shoestring fries
- Place fries in a large zip lock bag, ensuring that you have enough space that the fries can move when the bag is shaken – if you do not have this space, use two bags.
- Spoon a small amount of cornstarch into the bag(s) and shake. Repeat until fries are evenly coated – not caked – in cornstarch.
- Now, spoon a small amount of oil (if coconut, melted) into the bag and shake to coat. Start slowly. You do not want to saturate the fries, simply coat them so that the cornstarch can no longer be seen.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 40 minutes, flipping fries after 20 minutes.
- Let cool – a little – and enjoy!
If you’re looking for a great way to incorporate this veggie into your morning meal, check out this recipe for sweet potato pancakes! You won’t be disappointed.
Full of healthy fiber, vitamins, and nutrients, zucchini is a vegetable option you can’t beat. With high levels of vitamins C and B6, as well as potassium and phosphorous, zucchini provides health benefits ranging from reducing cardiovascular diseases to helping prevent cancer. Plus, this vegetable can be substituted into your kids’ favorite meals to create healthier versions that still taste amazing.
Zucchini Pizza Boats
- 4 medium size zucchini
- 2 tbsp. of olive oil
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. thyme
- ½ c. shredded parmesan reggiano cheese
- 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 c. pizza sauce
- 1 package pepperoni, optional
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice zucchini in half length-wise.
- Using a melon-baller or spoon, scoop out the inside of the zucchini halves and set aside.
- Finely chop half of the leftover zucchini insides – save the other half for later meals.
- Add chopped zucchini, oregano, basil, thyme, olive oil, and ¼ c. of parmesan to a medium bowl and mix.
- Drizzle small amount of olive oil along the inside of the scooped out zucchini boats and layer the bottom with pepperoni – if desired.
- Next, layer the pizza sauce, chopped zucchini mixture, and the remained cheese on the boats.
- Place on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
- Let cool – slightly – and enjoy!
For another kid-friendly favorite, check out this recipe for zucchini noodles!
One of the best sources of vitamin A outside of dietary supplements, Butternut squash is a delicious and nutrition packed vegetable that can be served in a variety of ways that your kids (and you!) will enjoy. Full of fiber, antioxidants, and minerals like zinc, iron, and calcium, this vegetable will help protect skin health, eyesight, and overall immune function.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 12 oz. package of pasta (macaroni or pasta of your preference)
- 1 c. chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ yellow onion – diced
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- ½ tsp. curry
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme
- ½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper – to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut butternut squash in half, seed and set on baking sheet skin side down.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the skin can be easily pricked with a fork.
- While the butternut squash is baking, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook your pasta.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-5 minutes, then add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Scrape squash flesh from skin and place in a blender. Add garlic, onion, curry, thyme, and broth. Puree until smooth.
- Return the puree to the skillet over medium heat. Add pasta, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined and dish.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy!
For another easy and delicious kid-friendly butternut squash recipe, check out how to make butternut squash soup.
A good source of vitamin C, K, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and more, cauliflower is one of the healthiest cruciferous vegetables you can eat. Because of the vitamin and mineral make up of this veggie, it supports several essential systems within the body, helping to detoxify and reduce inflammation, and even reducing the risk of several cancers. This versatile food is a fantastic addition to a variety of dishes including:
- 2 c. cooked cauliflower florets – finely chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- ½ c. onion – minced
- 3 tbsp. fresh parsley – minced
- ½ c. sharp cheddar cheese – grated
- ½ c. seasoned breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- non-stick cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients.
- Spoon 1 tbsp. of the mixture into your hands and roll into small ovals (tot shapes!). Place on baking sheet and bake for 16-18 minutes, flipping the tots halfway through.
If you’d like to make a healthier pizza for your kids, try this recipe for cauliflower pizza crust!