5 Sneaky Tricks to Get Your Kids to Eat their Veggies

5 Sneaky Tricks to Get Your Kids to Eat their Veggies

Four year old boy disliking the veggies on his plate

Look familiar? Getting kids to eat their veggies is often a negotiation

Getting kids to eat their greens can sometimes be a nightmare (and even at times, fruits are met with hesitation).

Almost every kid hits a point where somewhere in their little developing mind, they decide for one reason or another that they are no longer trying anything new. Parents, you are not alone in dealing with this.

Time and again, parents become exhausted with trying to reach the recommended nutritional goals for their kids. Tears, threats, crying and bribery can be exhausting and rarely work. Here are some ideas for pulling off switches, hiding, and even upfront ways to introduce new (and healthy!) foods.

5 Sneaky Tips and Tricks to Get Your Kids to Eat their Fruits and Veggies

Tip 1: Learn to Love Making Smoothies

Smoothies are an amazing way to hide veggies and fruits from your kids. Most children won’t turn down a smoothie with a popular flavor, like strawberry – which is really just crushed iced, berries and juice. Now let’s say they hate carrots.

Try this out: juice some carrots, add a quarter cup to the blender, followed by the ice and strawberries, as well as a shot or two of skim milk or dollop of unhurt. Blend at warp speed and ta-da!

Kids love smoothies

They will drink it down, without any knowledge of what is really in it. For a fruit medley, especially those including citrus, you are really good to go. Citrus is strong-smelling and most of what you taste comes from what you smell. Throw together carrot juice, oranges, pineapple, a dash of skim milk or yogurt, and blend.

It is amazing what you can’t taste with citrus added-in.

Tip 2: When is a “Treat” really a Treat?

The same idea for smoothies can be used for “shakes”. Real shakes have loads of fat. While this tactic won’t get their vegetables in, it just might be a way to sneak in fruit or other healthy foods.

Snack Time Mecca - SmartyPants

Apple slices and caramel dip is a great snack… as a “treat” mind you.

First, lose the ice cream. Replace it with frozen yogurt, fresh strawberries (a cup or so), crushed ice and skim milk. Blend for a delicious strawberry shake. A blueberry shake can be made the same way AND because of the dark blueberry color, you can toss in some carrot juice or even, if you dare, pureed broccoli. This may also be a time to sneak in a child-oriented nutritional supplement, such as SmartyPants.

Nutritional drinks can be chalky or vitamin-like and not all kids dig them. But if you hide the flavor in a homemade shake, you’ll be good to go. Another option is to simply serve up healthier treats – like a simple fruit salad topped with yogurt, or frozen yogurt in their favorite flavor topped with fruit and granola.

Of course, kids should know that “treats” are not another meal and should not be expected all the time.

Tip 3: Snack-time equals Fun-time

Salsa is a fabulous way to get vegetable servings in. Serving salsa with salt-free pretzels or baked tortilla chips cuts the fat and salt out. Salsa has peppers, tomatoes, and onions, and almost no fat. It is a fabulous snack.

You can also try cutting up fresh vegetables and serving them with a fat-free ranch or dressing of their choice. Apples are much more enticing with a caramel dip, but that is a lot of fat and sugar. If you’re going to go this route, opt for a low-fat, low-calorie caramel sauce.

Lunchables – or other pre-arranged, bite-sized meals – are all the craze and are ridiculous in the amount of fat, salt and calories they serve up (plus the cost!) Make your own, using low salt pretzels, cubed or sliced Swiss or mozzarella cheese, seedless grapes, and turkey cut into shapes. All of these are healthy, filling, and easy-to-grab snacks.

Want something uber fun? Check out my friend Lee's Banana Sushi – my kids love it! 

banada sushi from lee - fit foodie finds

Banana Sushi is an epic treat for kids! And fun to make too. [Image care of FitFoodFinds]

If you work and your kids come home for lunch or after school with unlimited access to the fridge and kitchen, invest in some square Tupperware containers or one better a PlanetBox lunch kit and leave prepared snacks for them. This approach helps to cut the chances of your kids eating dinner ahead of time, or munching on fatty snacks that will spoil their appetite.

Tip 4: Mealtime Mecca

If possible, pack your child a lunch on school days. It can be a hassle, but at least you are in better control of what they have in front of them.

Meal Time Awesomeness for kids

Healthy kid's lunch box made up of pita bread ham and salad, fresh fruit, sultanas and drinking water.

A lot of times kids will switch lunches and “trade”. While that’s beyond your control, try supplying them with a variety of foods that they actually like and will want to hang onto. If they refuse wheat bread, then buy “white wheat” bread.

Include fruit (either straight up or with a dip), water or sugar-free juice, and cut up vegetables with a low-fat dressing or peanut butter. As for eating at home, letting them help prepare their meals is huge. Children feel responsibility and pride in helping.

Anything you make with a red sauce (lasagna, spaghetti, etc.) is an extremely easy way to sneak in vegetables. Puree the vegetables ahead of time and add them to the sauce. They are almost guaranteed not to taste it, yet they are getting their share of vegetables.

Tip 5: The Secret Benefits of Hidden Vitamins

Besides hiding fish oil in shakes, a chewable, gummy vitamin like SmartyPants, may be for those really picky stages or really picky kids. It may not be the first choice, but a supplement will keep your mind at ease and their bodies healthy.

SmartyPants Lunch Box add in #SmartyPants

Not to Worry, Compromise Works Wonders

Kids work in stages – some start trying everything and anything and seem to never complain. But they may grow, hit a certain stage and boom – it may seem like they aren’t willing to touch anything.

Sometimes it’s the opposite. You know how your kids work best – meet them halfway, but don’t be afraid to sneak in some extra nutritional benefits when you can.

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Health SimplifiedI'm very excited to announce my partnership with #SmartyPants the creators of #TheGoodGummy. The science speaks for itself — SmartyPants produces the only all-in-one multi that also has omega 3s and vitamin D. In the Complete + Fiber formula, they've ALSO added soluble fiber to the mix.

I had the opportunity to connect with their team at the Dad 2.0 Summit in San Francisco earlier this year and they absolutely wowed me. The company's vision for family health, giving back to local and global communities and the belief that everyone deserves good health was enough to put me over the edge… sign me up! How can I help?

Over the coming month, I've teamed up with SmartyPants to offer some fantastic info on the following:

Stay tuned and enjoy Health Simplified!

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you are awesome - reallyThis is my disclaimer, “Just so you know, I have been compensated to share my ideas on this topic. Sometimes it is in the form of products, or services or even money… But here’s the thing; I won’t  share anything with you that I don’t fully support. It doesn't matter what it is, or how much they are willing to give me, if I don’t believe in it, It won’t be on my site. Seriously. You’ll just have to trust me on this.” ~ Moose

Financial Fitness: You ready for the elephant in the room

Financial Fitness: You ready for the elephant in the room

Lemonade StandI learned from an early age that I wasn't normal… but I believed there were others out there like me.

I created my first business at a ripe old age of 5. My plan was to dominate the world with my Lemonade empire!

In creating my first business I learned very quickly there exists two types of people in the world — those that like to create their own jobs; and those that choose to work other people's jobs. Both are great, but come from two very different ways of thinking.

Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense

From a very early age, I watched my parents work hard. Work really, really hard. But they didn't work for other people – they worked for themselves. They were self-employed, business owners — or as I call them, business creators.

My parents taught me much through their daily habits and interactions, and they show up in my day to day, everyday – most obviously shining through my personal work ethic.

I'd have thought that Thomas Edison knew my parents when he wrote the following:

The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.

At the age of 5, I worked my lemonade stand for hours and hours. Remembering back, nothing was as hard as earning that first shiny dime. I saw my time spent working in and on my lemonade stand as an investment. I worked hard, I squeezed the lemons, I mixed in the sugar, mixed in more sugar, mixed in more sugar… then I recruited my first employee. At the time my brother Josh was 3 years old, who agreed that he'd work for free lemonade… (Note to reader: I'll save my lessons in management and contract negotiations for a later post)

So many #ManulifeReady lessons to be learned from LemonsI learned very quickly that creating a business that can be scaled up takes a LOT of work and resources. My only saving grace at the time was I didn't have to buy any of the materials. The loan I secured from the bank of Mom and Dad financed my first (and last) Lemon-Aid site. Their loan was at the best interest rate possible — my cost? A straight exchange of lemonade for funding… too bad businesses don't work that way today.

That was my first lesson in business, fiduciary responsibility, retail operations, supply chain logistics, human resources, public relations, and pretty much anything that had to do with trying to sell my sweet and deliciously refreshing glasses of ice-cold lemonade. But to be honest, my parents never said it would be easy.

How many of us founded our financial experiences with trial-and-error learning?

Remember, there's 2 types of people in the world: those that work for themselves and those that work for others.

I've worked in both capacities a lot in my 38 years of life. I've had lots of jobs, lots of careers, and have started and stopped a number of my own businesses. But one thing has always been constant – that deep down want to do my thing and create something from nothing.

When Manulife approached me about the #ManulifeReady campaign, I was apprehensive. I questioned if I was the right person to sharing in this digital conversation. After all, I still don't understand money. The following video is a perfect example of how I feel leading up to any conversation about money:

With all my business knowledge, I get it on the business side of things, but when it comes to my personal finances, I'm a mess.

In fact, I have a pet elephant and his name is “Financial Ignorance” — he's always in the room, whether I choose to acknowledge him or not, he's always there.

At the age of 5 I had no real concept of what money was. I knew it was something that my parents often whispered about at the dinner table. I knew it was something that grown-ups “worked” for. But what I really knew money as was that thing I could exchange for candy at the corner store — other than that, I really had no clue. It isn't something that was dinner table talk in my home growing up. In fact it has never been something I've been comfortable talking about – even now at 38 years old I find myself shirking the conversation with my own kids.

My elephant is named "Financial Ignorance" --- he's in the room!

I'm passing on my bad habits, fears and ignorance to them, without even realizing it. And that's not right. It's time to man up.

Am I ready? Am I responsible? Can I provide for my family? How do you define money to a 5 year old?

Article_Talk_MoneyEvery one of these questions is important. And one thing I've learned since embarking on this conversation is there exists great resources for ensuring we are better ready for our financial futures.

As a parent, I want to make sure I give my kids the best opportunity to be financially ready for what life has to offer them. One tool in particular is the Family Finances Checklist.

5 Simple Things You Should Do to be #ManulifeReady

  1. Start a Registered Education Savings Plan (plan for schooling now)
  2. Investigate Childcare (will you need it or not?)
  3. Protect Your Family's Future (do you need insurance?)
  4. Reduce Debt (debt management does and do not's)
  5. Look into Tax Deductions (what can or can't you write off?)

By checking off these 5 simple tasks, you're more ready and ready for all of life's adventures. In hindsight I wish these items were dinner table topics from time-to-time when I was growing up – my concept of money and outlook on finances would be very different. But fortunately for me, I can teach my 38 old self new tricks. There's no time like today to start.

Kick the Elephant to the Curb

Dubble Bubble GumMy foray into the Lemonade market taught me a ton. It taught me what it is to be an entrepreneur – to create something from nothing. At 5, my first and only sale was to my grandma. She paid me with a bright, shiny dime. She took a sip, gave me a big smile and went back into the house. My mom later told me she poured the lemonade down the drain, but that didn't matter to me. To me I had a customer. I made a sale. I was a business creator. And that 10 cent coin bought me a 2 pieces of bubble-bubble at the corner store.

We're all chasing our visions, our dreams and our passions. Much of what we build for ourselves is from nothing – like lemonade from lemons. We work to provide for ourselves and our family. Whether we work for ourselves or for someone else, we agree that our financial readiness is important.

Don't ignore the elephant in the room. Get involved with the conversation.

[toggle title=”Join the #ManulifeReady Twitter Conversation on Tuesday March 24th at 9pm EST (RSVP below)” state=”close”]
And, don't forget to enter Share & Win contest before March 22nd for a chance at $2500 in prizes.


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you are awesome - reallyThis post is sponsored by 360ACCESS on behalf of Manulife Financial. The opinions are my own…

And to be absolutely clear, this is my disclaimer: “Just so you know, I have been compensated to share my ideas on this topic. Sometimes it is in the form of products, or services or even money… But here’s the thing; I won’t  share anything with you that I don’t fully support. It doesn't matter what it is, or how much they are willing to give me, if I don’t believe in it, It won’t be on my site. Seriously. You’ll just have to trust me on this.” ~ Moose

Screen Time is Killing Our Kids One TV Show at a Time

Screen Time is Killing Our Kids One TV Show at a Time

Girl watching TVCanadian kids don’t play as much as they used to for a lot of reasons, and ParticipACTION’s new national campaign takes on one very real barrier to play—the constant lure of screens.

In today’s culture of ‘getting things done’ the screen may seem like an easy solution, but video games, television, computers and smartphones have replaced time spent running, playing and being active outdoors.  In fact, Canadian kids spend an average of [highlight]seven hours and 48 minutes a day in front screens[/highlight]. Over the course of a week that is more time than their parents spend at work! The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that kids between the ages of 5-17 years old should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity EVERY day. However, 95% of Canadian kids don’t meet these guidelines. Active play offers a great solution to help our kids learn to love and enjoy physical activity, away from screeens—in a way that is their own.

The ‘Make Room for Play’ campaign launched in January, and is a call to Canadian families to limit screen time and make more room for active play. There is a series of 30 second videos that grab parents’ attention and makes them think about their own family’s screen time habits at the cost of active play time.

And, for those that need it, we want to help! Even though our videos urge you not to visit our website, and to go outside and play—if you need tips or ideas on how to get started—please visit makeroomforplay.com. There are a multitude of useful tips you can use to make some changes in your family routine.

4 Useful Resources to Help Reduce Your Child's Daily Screen Time

  1. Try out our Cold Weather Activity Checklist
  2. Print and use our Screen Time Log to track how much time you could better spend being active!
  3. Read our Tips for kids in different age groups (early years, ages 5-12 or teens)
  4. Visit our blog for some practical guidance and how-to’s.

We all need to play a part in encouraging Canada’s kids to be as active as possible – to make room for play by turning screen time into real, active play!

And, we’d love to see your active play success stories, and hear your opinion on Make Room For Play. Join the conversation with us on social using the hashtag #MakeRoomForPlay.


participaction logoAbout ParticipACTION

Let’s get moving. It’s a simple message ParticipACTION is bringing to Canadians across this country. Moving more is the key to creating a Canada that is happier and healthier. Luckily, we live in a wonderful place where the opportunity to get moving is right at our doorstep, at home, in our local communities, and beyond. We want to change minds about what it means to be physically active. Imagine a country where physical activity is a vital part of every day life, and not one more item to check off a to do list. Our goal is to create a nation where daily physical activity is not only a priority, but also second nature – as natural as child’s play. And it starts with taking time to just move more. Bringing Canadians together and uniting them under the banner of creating a nation where physical activity is a vital part of everyday life – that is the future ParticipACTION envisions. And every step of the way, ParticipACTION will be there for you – we are your partner, your inspiration, your coach who never lets you doubt that you can do it. Come on, Canada. Let’s get moving.

Creating #RealDadMoments at the Dad 2.0 Summit

Creating #RealDadMoments at the Dad 2.0 Summit

special man to be a father

A Dad Summit?” asked my friend, Paul, “what the heck is that about?” My response, “Paul, it's a whole lot of awesomeness rolled up in a weekend of dads connecting with dads!

3 Things I learned at the Dad 2.0 Summit

Two years ago, working with Dove® Men+Care®, I attended the inaugural Dad 2.0 Summit in Austin, Texas (read the posts here and here). I learned 3 things from the Summit:

  1. As big as the world may seem, the world of dads online is a microcosm of coolness. The friends I made, the fun I had and the memories I created forever changed my perspective and direction as a dad – even though only a shift by a small degree, over the past 2 years that slight course change has brought me to somewhere completely different.
  2. dove summit logoDads are people too. That might sound obvious, but in connecting with dads in a safe, positive and open environment like the Dad 2.0 Summit, the defenses come down. The manliness and masochism fade away as all attitude is left at the door. An opportunity for openness and sharing with other dads is unique, refreshing and simply put, AWESOMENESS!
  3. I can always improve as a dad. It would take 10 blog posts to share all the amazing things I learned from the speakers, panelists, sponsors and planned events at the Summit. Mind blowing! I learned more in 2 days, then all the self-help books I had read in the earlier 12 months. These little nuggets of wisdom stuck with me and helped form the dad I am today.

Getting around a room full of dads in positive mind-states is amazing and given the chance, I recommend getting around something like this (even if it falls on Super Bowl weekend)…

Thinking back on your own life, do you remember an event that forever changed your life's direction for the better?

Dove® Men+Care® has inspired me to reflect back on my own moments in my life as a father and recall these #RealDadMoments. Their most recent social campaign encourages us to do just that… think back and share those moments, or create new ones, with our children and share them through various social channels online including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to name but a few. Check out the feed to see some other dads' cool moments:

Here's a few of mine which I recently shared:

Just a few of my #realdadmoments

Ready to create another great life moment at the Dad 2.0 Summit?


As title sponsor of the Dad 2.0 Summit, Dove Men+Care is showing up in a big way to celebrate all the attendees' “Real Dad Moments” – they care for our skin so we dads can care for what matters most – our families! To celebrate Dads, Dove Men+Care is sponsoring a historical bike tour of New Orleans' French Quarters on Friday January 30th from 7 am to 8 am.

Any interested attendees should meet me in the host venue hotel lobby (JW Marriot) at 6:55 am Friday morning. The Crescent City Bike Tour Company will be in attendance to provide all riders with urban cruisers, helmets and water bottles. The guided tour through the historic streets of New Orleans will cover the Vieux Carré (French Quarter), Treme', Louis Armstrong Park (Congo Square), and the Mississippi River Front.

NOTE: Space is limited to the first 30 riders. If interested in participating on the bike tour, comment below.  See you at Dad 2.0!


Want to learn more about Dad 2.0?

dove summit logo

To learn more about the summit, be sure to visit the Dad 2.0 Summit website. The Dad 2.0 Summit is an open conversation about the commercial power of dads online, and an opportunity to learn the tools and tactics used by influential bloggers to create high-quality content, build personal brands, and develop business ideas.

Salvation Army Kettle Kick off event #FillTheKettle

Salvation Army Kettle Kick off event #FillTheKettle

MESSAGE received from Salvation Army on November 25th (post-event)

Thank you SOOOOOOO much for your amazing support this past Saturday at the Inaugural Fill the Kettle: Celebrity Kettle Kick Off event to launch the Greater Vancouver kettle campaign.  We couldn't have done it without you!

Together, we raised a grand total of $2563.75 in 4 hours!

To provide some perspective, this is well above what a kettle in a prime location in mid-December could raise in an 8 hour day.

Thank you again for your help in making this a memorable day through your energy, enthusiasm and desire to participate in a long standing Christmas tradition!   We had so much fun and hope you did too!   Your presence and support was extremely valuable and we appreciate you sharing your time with us.

Remember the funds raised through the kettle campaign make a difference in your community – providing essential services and compassionate care to millions of people who face poverty, addiction, homelessness, abuse and other serious situations which they cannot manage on their own.  Thank you for partnering with us in giving hope today!

Tomorrow between 11 and 3 my whole family will be joining other local media personalities, musicians, celebrities, politicians and athletes ringing the bells and helping fill the kettle…along with hot chocolate, music, and a ton of Christmas spirit!  Come join us!


Christmas Kettle Season kicks off tomorrow!

[highlight]The goal in BC this season is to raise $4 million dollars[/highlight] to support all programs and services offered to those in need.  The #FillTheKettle campaign runs from November 14th through to December 24th and happens throughout the Vancouver lower mainland.

The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign is one of Canada's largest and most recognizable annual charitable events – there are more than 2,000 kettle locations across Canada that support a range of Salvation Army programs and services.  The Salvation Army relies on the support and general goodwill of those in the community who continue to give to the work being done by TSA everyday.

The red kettle campaign is one of The Salvation Army's long-standing Christmas traditions, and continues to be the largest fundraising initiative across Canada. The funds raised through the kettle campaign make a difference in your community – providing essential services and compassionate care to millions of people who face poverty, addiction, homelessness, abuse and other serious situations which they cannot manage on their own.

Kettle Kick Off Event: It's time to ring those bells!

On Saturday, November 23 between 11 and 3 The Salvation Army red kettles will line the corner of Howe & Georgia at the Pacific Center Rotunda for the official launch of the Greater Vancouver kettle campaign.

There will be local media personalities, musicians, celebrities, politicians and athletes ringing the bells and helping fill the kettle…along with hot chocolate, music, and a ton of Christmas spirit!


Radio Interviews with News1130AM's Tammy Moyer


History of the Christmas Kettle

In 1891, Captain Joseph McFee wanted to help vulnerable people in San Francisco, especially during the Christmas season, but he had no funds to do so.  He remembered, during his earlier days as a sailor in Liverpool, England, seeing a large iron kettle where passengers of boats that docked tossed coins in to, to help the poor.  Captain McFee suspended a similar pot from a tripod at the Oakland Ferry Landing and encouraged the public to “keep the Pot Boiling.”  He collected enough money to host a Christmas dinner for the poor.  Canada's first kettle was used in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1906.

Every year in Vancouver, The Salvation Army provides

  • 1,182,435  meals for the hungry
  • 450 transitional housing beds
  • 554 shelter beds for the homeless
  • 189 extreme cold weather beds
  • 112 residential beds for parolees
  • 118 adult treatment beds
  • 25 beds for domestically abused women and families
  • 6 youth recovery beds
  • 277 assisted living / long term care for seniors
  • 10 hospice beds
  • 17 community crisis response units responding to emergencies
  • family services in 39 communities

Ways to Donate

Check out the Fill the Kettle website.  The site will have two features for people to:

  1. Donate to a kettle in their area.
  2. Host an online kettle.
Father’s Day (or in my home, “Leave the Toilet Seat Up Day”)

Father’s Day (or in my home, “Leave the Toilet Seat Up Day”)

I love, love, love being a dad.  Two of the three most incredibly memorable days of my life include the days my daughters Chardonae and Brie were born (the 3rd is the day I met my wife, Christie).  Admittedly, living with three women can prove challenging at times, and as my little girls turn into little women the challenges continue. Whether it be bathroom line-ups in the morning, or debates surrounding property rights for the Calico Critters, there's daily challenges (or opportunities) to overcome. (more…)

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