It’s important for people who work in food service management to remember that their hospital menu doesn’t just cater to adult patients and their families, but children as well. Some adults have a hard enough time eating their fruits and vegetables, but it can be nearly impossible for kids to enjoy them – especially when they’re sick.
You’ll want to give kids food that makes them happy but is also good for them. Luckily, there are a number of easy ways to sneak fruits and vegetables into meals that kids will love, without them even knowing it.
Grate up your veggies
Cooking Light magazine explained that one of the simplest ways to sneak vegetables into children’s meals is to grate them up thinly. Then, you can sneak them underneath a hamburger bun or into lasagna. You can also grate vegetables into tomato sauce and toss it onto some whole wheat pasta.
Add them on pizza
Children love pizza, which is why you may want to consider adding vegetables to this classic kid-friendly dish. When you’re making a new pizza for your hospital menu, consider placing thinly-cut vegetables under the cheese.
Mix them into mac and cheese
Mac and cheese is another dish that children love, and Parents magazine explained that it’s easy to infuse vegetables into this dish. Simply adding cheese sauce on top of the veggies will hide the fact that they’re even there!
Bake them into muffins
There are a wide range of fruits and even vegetables that you can bake into muffins. For example, apples, blueberries, peaches, bananas, carrots, zucchini, butternut squash and sweet potatoes can all be great muffin ingredients. If you’re worried about whether kids will like them, consider sprinkling some powdered sugar or cinnamon on top of the finished product.
Top hot dogs with them
Another great way to get kids to eat their vegetables is to serve your hot dogs Chicago style and add pickles, tomato slices, onions and peppers on top of them. Be sure to look for hot dog brands that contain the lowest amount of saturated fat and as few nitrates as possible.
Make a veggie grilled cheese
Grilled cheese is an old staple, but have you thought about creating a variety made with whole-wheat bread and infused with tomatoes, carrots and low-fat cheese? To make this kid-friendly snack even healthier, use canola oil instead of butter on the grill. Give kids ketchup to dip the sandwich in and they’ll treat it like any regular-old grilled cheese.
Pack fruits into a classic kids meal
Kids are always fans of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and they taste even better with bananas and apple slices slipped into them. However, be sure to keep any peanut butter in your kitchen away from other foods, in case a patient with a severe peanut allergy arrives. For some patients, even touching a food that has been near peanut butter could create serious health consequences.
Make some smoothies
Finally, you can easily get kids to eat more fruit if you have smoothies on your menu. Mix fruit with low-fat yogurt you get a delicious and nutritious drink that kids are sure to ask for more of.
While all of these tips are for kids, they may also be able to help some of the pickier adults in your facility get their daily servings of fruits and veggies.