Busy meets healthy with these quick veggie options you can serve your kids even when you’re super pressed for time!

How Many Fruits and Vegetables Should I Eat in a Day?

If you read our recent Notecard Post, you know that one of the essential healthy eating guidelines we believe in is to serve at least one vegetable and/or fruit with every meal and every snack.

It’s a commitment, but it’s totally possible! Here’s why we do it:

It adds fiber and vitamins.
It normalizes the appearance of fruits and veggies on kids’ plates.
It gives kids lots of opportunities to eat fruits and veggies throughout the day.
It makes plates colorful and fun.

True, vegetables can take time. They’re worth the time! But sometimes, I get it, you’re dashing out the door, or tossing your kid a snack so you can answer the phone, or cleaning up spilled bubble stuff, and food has to happen NOW or else someone (maybe you) is going to cry. In these instances, fresh food is still doable, and can even be as quick as opening up a package of crackers.

lunchbox with quick fresh fruits and veggies

To prove it, I’ve compiled a list of veggies and fruits to serve if you have just one, five, or ten minutes to spare. The list assumes you’re starting from scratch, having done no preparation whatsoever, because those are the times when serving veggies seems too hard to manage.

I tried to be realistic about these prep/cook-times. When in doubt, I timed myself. (I had to cut steamed sweet potato and steamed carrots from the list, because they took a little too long. Next time you have fourteen minutes to spare, you can still get those yummy orange veggies on the table.)

I DID get a bunch of kale from the fridge to our plates in eight minutes, though. You can do this! Here you go.

What Veggies Can I Make Fast?

If you have only ONE MINUTE, you can still serve:

  • frozen peas or sweet corn (still frozen!)
  • baby carrots or a whole peeled carrot
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cucumber slices
  • raw sugar snap peas
  • half an avocado
  • red bell pepper slices
  • frozen edamame pods (packed to-go; they’ll defrost)
  • any fresh fruit (berries, apples, pears, bananas, clementines, grapes, etc.)
  • raisins or other no-sugar-added dried fruit

If you have only FIVE MINUTES, you also have time to serve:

  • smoothies made from frozen fruit and leafy greens
  • steamed or sauteed asparagus spears
  • salad greens or slaw mix with vinaigrette
  • celery and nut butter or cream cheese
  • steamed green beans
  • steamed snow peas
  • sauteed fresh or frozen spinach
  • steamed zucchini and/or yellow squash
  • steamed (frozen, pre-cooked) edamame pods

If you have only TEN MINUTES, you can serve all of the above, plus:

  • whole microwaved sweet potato
  • sauteed kale, collards, chard, or other hardy greens
  • steamed broccoli or cauliflower
  • stir-fried bell peppers

That’s our list! Happy minute-munching.

NEED MORE last-minute healthy ideas? Check out our Top 10 Ideas for 10-Minute Meals.

NEED EVEN MORE? Read about 30 Quick and Easy Last Minute Dinner Ideas.

20+ Veggies to Serve in 1, 5, or 10 Minutes

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