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How to Make Veg Fun!

Claire Wright

Veg Power Editor and recipe creator Claire Wright shares our top tips to making veg fun and playful instead of a chore for kids using Eat Them To Defeat Them.

Veg and fun are perhaps not two words that we as parents naturally put together. Our kids certainly don’t seem to associate the two. But bringing play into engagement with veg and adding fun can turn something that can often feel like a battle into an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

The main reason why multi-award-winning campaign Eat Them To Defeat Them is so successful in getting kids to eat more veg is that it is fun! Kids love the story, the silly catchphrases, being on the same side as their parents as heroes, and the play involved in the game-like campaign. Bringing that play into mealtimes more can be the difference between a veg being tried or refused.

On top of the fun theme, Eat Them To Defeat Them brings in an ad campaign and celebrity support to build on excitement – meaning they want to eat veg so they can be involved! Schools taking part in the schools’ programme start the play by bringing in the story and some fun goals, and finding tasty and enjoyable ways to try particular veggies, rewarding with stickers. 

Repeating this fun and rewarding at home with our sticker and reward chart packs means that trying and eating these veg becomes the norm, developing long-term healthy habits!

This year, we’ve introduced a new way to make eating to defeat them fun with The Big Chomp! We are encouraging schools, families, and all the kids involved in the campaign to have fun making their veg-chomping entertaining and over-the-top, and sharing their “big chomps” with us and their families and friends. This is all about making the act of eating veg fun, and that playful attitude turns veg-eating into a positive experience for all.

What if my children’s school isn’t taking part?

Don’t worry, there’s still loads you can do at home to capitalise on the campaign!

And of course, just because the campaign runs in February and March doesn’t mean you are limited to this time of year for the fun that Eat Them To Defeat Them has to offer – these resources are available year-round for you to bring more fun to the table!

DO you have a question you’d like one of our experts to help you with?
Simply Veg Sun & Girl

SIMPLY VEG

Need to get your kids eating more veg?

Our only goal is to help parents and carers serve up affordable, simple food their families will love. We know that takes more than a few recipes, so we've got all the hacks and advice you'll need. Join now. It's 100% free and 100% simple.

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Winning with Reward Charts

Dan Parker

Chief Executive:  Dan Parker has worked in marketing and advertising for 25 years for many of the world’s largest food brands. As Chief Executive of Veg Power he now uses that experience to encourage kids to eat more vegetables.

Rewards charts can be a very effective way to encourage kids to try and keep trying a new vegetable until it just becomes habit. Read on to learn the most effective way to use a reward chart and a few pitfalls to avoid.

What message does an offer of dessert as a reward for eating vegetables give? It says that vegetables are “disgusting”, a chore, and that sweet treats are a prize to cherish. You may get your child to eat a little more broccoli today but you’re teaching unhealthy food habits they might keep for life.

REWARD CHART TIPS

DO you have a question you’d like one of our experts to help you with?
Simply Veg Sun & Girl

SIMPLY VEG

Need to get your kids eating more veg?

Our only goal is to help parents and carers serve up affordable, simple food their families will love. We know that takes more than a few recipes, so we've got all the hacks and advice you'll need. Join now. It's 100% free and 100% simple.

*Required fields
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Take a veg pledge for 2024

Rebecca Stevens ANutr

Veg Power’s registered nutritionist and mum of three Rebecca shares simple, realistic ways to make a pledge for more veg that will stick in 2024!

And here we are in January, with all the festive fun of December sadly behind us. Don’t be dismayed, this month, why don’t you channel your energy into improving your family’s health by committing to one of our Simply Veg pledges? 

While many of us know what we should be aiming for in terms of healthy habits, we don’t always manage to achieve them. Let’s take the 5-a-day message. Awareness of this is very high, but in practice many of us aren’t meeting this target. We do understand – life is busy, life with kids is even busier! To help get you back on track, you could start 2024 with actioning an achievable, affordable New Year’s pledge that can get your family closer to the healthier lifestyle you are seeking. 

Let’s start with eating vegetables (and not just because we love them)! Eating veg is part of a healthy, balanced diet and the nutrients from veg support our bodies in lots of different ways – including supporting our immune system. That’s especially important in the winter months. Remember, the greater the variety of veg you eat, the wider the range of nutrients you’ll be consuming.

Ask yourself these simple questions:

  1. Is your family eating enough vegetables? If you aren’t sure, try our guide to understanding portions
  2. Is your family eating a sufficient variety of vegetables? To find out more about eating a rainbow of veg, try our Eat the Rainbow guide (including a free eat the rainbow chart). 

If you answered NO to the above, here are some suggested pledges that you could add to your 2024 goals.

Rebecca’s Top Tips for Veg Pledges!

If you answered YES to the questions above, that’s fantastic! Perhaps some of the pledges above immediately resonate with you, but if not, you could use them as a jumping off point for creating different ones to suit your family if you prefer. 

Whichever pledge you focus on, remember with behaviour change the important thing is consistency not perfection. Keep working at it and any small improvements should be celebrated. We’re proud of you for taking this on! Good luck and keep us posted! 

Simple BEETROOT

Our Veg Pages have loads of simple ways to add more veg into your family’s meals. Why not start with one of these simple sides for beetroot?

roasted beetroot

Simple Roasted Beetroot

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Claire Wright

beet slaw

Beetroot & Apple Slaw

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Claire Wright

beetroot dip

Beetroot Dip – 2 Ways

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Claire Wright

DO you have a question you’d like one of our experts to help you with?
Simply Veg Sun & Girl

SIMPLY VEG

Need to get your kids eating more veg?

Our only goal is to help parents and carers serve up affordable, simple food their families will love. We know that takes more than a few recipes, so we've got all the hacks and advice you'll need. Join now. It's 100% free and 100% simple.

*Required fields
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Simply Veg saves Christmas!

Claire Wright

Veg Power Communications Manager and recipe creator Claire Wright shares our top tips to save you money, stress and time (and add a little more veg) this Christmas!

Food at Christmas is about so much more than Christmas lunch. If you’re not careful, you can be a slave to the kitchen conveyor belt and so much food can go to waste.

Simply Veg is all about eating a little more veg in a simple, affordable way. We’ve gathered some seasonal tips to show you how to save time, effort and money when it comes to Christmas food this year.

“How do I get the amount right so I don’t overspend or end up throwing food away?”

The single most important step you can take to be more Christmas savvy is to plan for it. Ask yourself:

How many people am I feeding?

Are there any dietary restrictions?

What are the foods I must have on my Christmas dinner table? What can be cut to save money and stress?

What is a portion and how many do I need? WRAP have a great guide on this here!

Check recipes to see how many servings it lists – most recipes can easily be halved if it’s too much! Order or go out and buy only what you need, and keep costs down. Over-ordering can lead to food waste and money in the bin, so a list is your best friend here!

“I feel like I miss so much of Christmas Day as I’m stuck in the kitchen!”

A delicious Christmas dinner is a lovely thing to share, and there are a lot of expectations wrapped up in it, but the first thing to remember is that a lot of it is hype and you don’t necessarily have to make 3 different sauces, stuffing, 4 different sides and all the trimmings. So don’t heap pressure on yourself and just pick a few things you will be able to make well.

Next, think about where you can cut corners. Perhaps you can save the hassle of loads of separate dishes and washing up with a one-tray Christmas dinner (or 2 trays if doubling) like this one or this one. Or perhaps you just want to take the stress out of sides with a one-tray trimmings dish.

Ask for help. If you have guests coming, ask them to bring the pudding, or a couple of sides, or drinks. It means less to think about, spend on and do on the day.

Finally, keep it simple! Veg sides are the easiest bit to simplify with options like pre-cut fresh or frozen veggies you can just pop on a tray with a little oil and salt to roast, picking just the simplest of sides that have barely any prep, or prepping in advance by trimming sprouts, cutting root veggies, or slicing cabbage.

“I’ve barely finished tidying up Christmas lunch and the kids are already asking what’s for tea!”

After all the kitchen stress of Christmas dinner, it is best to have a simple tea. Either prep ahead or buy some ready prepped crudités veg and dips. Maybe put out a little cheese and crackers as well. Keep it light, minimal in prep, and easy. Something you can pull out of the fridge and put straight on the table.

“After a day of cooking, the last thing I want to do on Boxing Day is get back in the kitchen!”

Boxing Day kitchen stress is best avoided one of two ways: prep ahead or use your leftovers. Prep ahead by batch cooking one of your favorite meals you are making in the few weeks before Christmas. Just double up and pop one in the freezer to pull out for thawing and cooking through.

Leftovers from Christmas Day can be served as is (most are just as good cold as reheated to piping hot), or popped in a sandwich. Or you can grab a roll of puff pastry and put some leftover turkey, gravy and root veg in a pie dish with a sheet of puff pastry over and bake to create a simple leftovers pie if you like variety.

What to do with leftover turkey

Got more turkey than you know what to do with? Here are some of our favourites:

  • Wrap it – Try this leftover turkey wrap – it even uses up leftover veg and sauces, perfect for a Boxing day lunch.
  • Layer it – Who doesn’t love nachos? Try these turkey ones and serve with some shredded lettuce or avocado over the top for a little extra veg.
  • Mix it – Use up leftover turkey and veg with this turkey casserole to make a simple, but tasty (and different!) turkey meal of Christmas leftovers later in the week.

Find more ideas here.

“What if people pop round over the Christmas period and I need to offer them food?”

Try simple snack platters like crudités veg and dips, cheese and crackers with raw veg and fruit, or similar pre-prepped or minimal prep snack foods. If you need something more, Christmas leftovers or batch-cooking a couple of dinners in the weeks before Christmas just by doubling and freezing food makes it a cinch to feed people at short notice without needing to get back in the kitchen for ages!

“I made too much food – how do I avoid it going to waste?”

If you have a freezer, you can freeze cooked meat, root veg, stuffing and most sauces for a couple of months if you don’t want to throw away food but also can’t face eating the same food for the next week!

Make use of leftovers by shredding leftover meat and popping into sandwiches, salads, tacos or anywhere you would normally add cooked meat; re-use root veg in salads, reheated as a side to a new meal, or served with dips or chopped into sauces and stews; or pop mixed leftovers into a pie if you are feeling a little more creative.

Other tips for a veg-packed, smart Christmas:

Simple Sprouts

Sprouts don’t have to be boiled until soft and pungent – convince the sprout skeptics with one of these simple sides:

Pan-fried sprouts and bacon

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Claire Wright

Sprout slaw

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Claire Wright

Simple roasted sprouts

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

Claire Wright

Find more tips here, here and here.

What are your favourite ways of saving time, money and stress over Christmas? We’d love to hear your suggestions.

DO you have a question you’d like one of our experts to help you with?
Simply Veg Sun & Girl

SIMPLY VEG

Need to get your kids eating more veg?

Our only goal is to help parents and carers serve up affordable, simple food their families will love. We know that takes more than a few recipes, so we've got all the hacks and advice you'll need. Join now. It's 100% free and 100% simple.

*Required fields