Vegetables and fruits are loaded with micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that are essential for optimal physiological functioning.
Proteins and grains are acidic; vegetables and fruits are alkaline. It is important to balance the acidic load that protein and grains present to the blood with alkaline-rich vegetables and fruits. Too much acid and not enough alkalinity leads to the loss of bone strength and muscle mass. Be sure you are balanced.
A simple way to make sure you are getting enough vegetables is to consume 1-3 servings (a serving is about 1/2 cup) with every eating opportunity (4-6 meals/day). Your goal is to get to 10-15 servings, or 5 to 7 1/2 cups per day. You can supplement a couple of these servings with a high-quality greens supplement.
Are you or your children not particularly fond of vegetables? Try this: Grate 2 cups total of onions, garlic, carrots, beets, and zucchini and then sauté the grated vegetables in 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Add 4 cups of a basic low-sugar, low-sodium marinara sauce and simmer.