Vegetables, Kids, and Healthy Appetites

Healthy Food Choices in Schools September 10, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

girl with fruit

There is an ever increasing number of children not eating their recommended daily serving of vegetables.  One survey reported that almost 60% of children are not meeting their daily servings (Healthy Kids, 2013). There are many reasons that children lack sufficient nutrients. Some of these include the ease of getting less healthy foods, the cost of vegetables, and the lack of knowledge about how to prepare these vegetables.

Fresh vegetables actually go a lot further than prepackaged meals or frozen foods. Allow for vegetables in your food budget and you will be making the first steps to meeting your child’s recommended serving of vegetables.  When fresh vegetables are out of season, purchasing frozen vegetables is still beneficial to receiving proper amounts of the nutrients. Instead of stocking up on chips, dip, candy and soda, pack the fridge with carrot sticks and hummus, cucumber slices, celery with peanut butter, apple slices, grapes and natural fruit juices, water or milks. Children will eat what you make available to them. Make vegetables more appetizing by paring them fun fruits or their favorite healthy drinks.  When preparing vegetables, such as squash, find recipes that use favorite spices, such as garlic, table blends, cinnamon, nutmeg or fresh onions. You can also insert the new vegetable into favorite recipes and as the children adjust to the new flavors they’ll soon come to crave them. There are lots of good recipes that are easy to prepare, as well as appealing to the taste buds and easy on the wallet! Below are a couple of great resources that can be used in preparing low-cost, delicious meals that are full of nutritious, delicious vegetables. A great way to increase the intake of vegetables for your children is to include them in the preparation.  If the child sees what is being fixed and contributing to the end product, they are more inclined to willingly try the new food.

Vegetables may cost more when you first look at the price tag, but when you see how much further the food goes towards feeding your family, the overall cost drops!  Also, by consuming more vegetables, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that as children increase nutrient intake they will lower the risk of health problems, such as obesity, hearth disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma and sleep apnea (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).  The need for vitamin supplements and doctor visits may also decrease as the children are receiving the vitamins naturally through their food intake and are gaining healthier lives.  Eating healthy reduces costs across the board.


Contributor  

Sarah Ransom-University of Tennessee FCS Extension Agent

Sources

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, October 31). "Tips for parents – ideas to help children maintain a healthy weight." 

Healthy Kids: Eat Healthy, Get Active, "Healthy Kids: Eat More Fruits and Veggies." Last modified 2013. Accessed June 10, 2013. 

For More Information

Quick and Healthy Recipes from Families, Food and Fitness

USDA SNAP-Ed Connection Recipe Finder 


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.