gina neely
Sep 10, 2014 • By

5 tips to get veggies into your favorite family meals

If you’re like the typical American family, dinnertime is crunch time – kids arriving home from school, getting everyone ready for practice, games, music lessons, doing homework, taking the dog for a walk and getting everyone to bed on time.

So, where does dinner fit in there again?

Gina Neely, celebrity chef and TV host, is in the same boat.

“As a mom, I know parents have the best of intentions and want to prepare exciting and nutritious dinners every night, but hectic schedules lead to falling back on those go-to meals …  spaghetti, anyone?” says Neely. “Easy steps, like preparing your grocery list and stocking up on simple ingredients like Green Giant Steamers, can make a big difference in the kitchen.”

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But when comfort foods are a family favorite, where do you fit veggies into the mix?

In a new survey by Green Giant four out of five parents agreed that dinner is not complete without a vegetable, yet at least one-third of parents admitted to forgetting about, or even purposely cutting out, vegetables when crunched for time at the end of the day.

The “2014 Fresh Takes On What To Make with Green Giant Frozen Survey” also found that 70 percent identify challenges with trying to incorporate veggies into meals, including getting kids excited about eating them (42%), not having vegetables on hand (32%) or not knowing how to prepare them (20%).

So how can you cut back on sandwiches and chicken tenders for dinner, keep meals healthy and tasty and not spend extra time in the kitchen?

Gina has a few great tips:

Plan ahead
Most of us do our shopping on weekends, but those are busy too. So before you head to the supermarket, plan your weeknight meals, make a list of what you need and be sure to stock up on go-to ingredients like frozen vegetables and canned tomatoes.

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Reuse and reinvent
How many times have you heard, “Leftovers? Again? Yuck.” Put those leftovers to good use and reinvent them for the next night’s meal.

Try this: Roast a chicken on Sunday (or purchase a rotisserie chicken) and save two cups of cooked chicken for Quick ‘n Easy Chicken Pot Pies on Monday night. All you need is one can of Pillsbury Grands Homestyle Buttermilk Biscuits, one package of Green Giant Steamers Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower and Cheese Sauce, some chicken broth and Parmesan cheese and you’ve got dinner (with tasty veggies) in less than 20 minutes.

Make your ingredients work hard for you
Take advantage of pre-made items like pizza crust and steam-in-the-bag vegetables. This can cut prep time in half, which means more “you” time!

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Make it fun for your kids
Part of teaching kids healthy eating habits is making nutritious foods fun and accessible. The more kids are involved in the kitchen, the more likely they are to eat (and enjoy) what they help create.

It can be as simple as letting the kids sprinkle cheese and corn on White Pizza with Roasted Corn and Bacon.

One pot, one wonderful meal
A good one-pot wonder can be a savior on a busy night. Beef Vegetable Medley Stir Fry is a simple option. It’s easy to cook and cleans up quickly because everything is cooked in must one pot.

For more of Gina’s tips and recipes for quick and easy weeknight meals packed with veggie goodness, visit

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