More Veggies Please

Wow, I just found out I have some work to do.  The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity states that on average, American children, depending on the age, see between 4,500 and 6,000 food commercials a year!  Most of these commercials are for sugary, salty, processed foods.  Healthy fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, the things I want my kid to eat, don’t even get a fraction of the screen time.  I don’t watch television, but I know deciding to limit screen time at home only helps so much when it comes to promoting the kinds of things I want Elias to eat.  I can’t hold him hostage at home.  He’ll be bombarded by loud marketing elsewhere from food marketers desperate for us to buy their product.  The industry is currently spending $1.6 billion dollars a year trying to convince children to eat their garbage.  I better start making some moves now if I’m going to have any chance of competing with that.  Here are some of my ideas for bringing veggies into my kid’s world now and in the future:

  • Along with stuffed animals include some stuffed vegetable and fruit toys in play.
  • Plant a garden.  Even without yard space you can use containers to plant vegetables.  Radishes grow quickly so they are a great one to start with.
  • Present vegetables in a fun creative way on the dinner plate.  Make a vegetable bouquet with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and bell peppers.  Make a smiley face with vegetables on a homemade pizza.  Use peanut butter, raisins and celery for an ants on a log snack.
  • Make the plate colorful.  Kids gravitate toward color and the more the better.  Try beets, red peppers, and yams.
  • Visit summer farmer’s markets.

What ideas do you have to add to the list?  I need all the help I can get when it comes to helping Elias to eat healthy.

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7 thoughts on “More Veggies Please

  1. You’ve got some great ideas already. One that I would add, and you’re probably already doing, is to model the behavior you want them to learn. Keep it up. You’ll have a healthy eater. 🙂

    • Thanks for adding to my list! You’re right that I already eat well, but this has definitely been something that has motivated my husband to eat better. He knows Elias will learn a lot by watching us and doesn’t want to model hamburgers and french fries as the way to go 🙂

  2. As agonizing as it is, I take the kids shopping with me. I let them pick out what they want to eat from the produce section, and it works wonders! I used to just get the “generic” fruit and veggies- carrots, apples, oranges, and they would eat it. Or not. But letting them literally pick out their own fruit (still working on the veg) means they get what they want, not what I think they’ll want. And it works for all of us, we eat a much wider variety of the good stuff!

    • Hi milkmaidmom,

      I smiled when I read the part about the agonizing adventures to the grocery store. I know grocery shopping with Elias is going to get a little more challenging as he gets older. I look forward to a time when he can pick out the fruits and veggies that he likes though. Great tip!

    • I love this idea! I just wrote an article about this too as I have been thinking a lot how I am going to get Eden eating well and develop a responsible, sustainable, and compassionate relationship with food.
      One thing I wrote about was cooking with Eden (as she grows up) and letting her be a part of the creative process so that she takes pride and ownership of the food on her plate. And same goes with planting a garden (maybe next year!) if she “helps” me with the weeding, watering, etc. she might be more excited to munch on those veggies that grow!

      • I agree that cooking with our kids is a great way to help them build a positive relationship with healthy food. Elias already loves watching me mix things so I can’t wait until he’s at a place that he can pitch in!

      • My kids were a huge help in the garden, kinda. I did have to stop them from “weeding” the zucchini plants, but they were always happy to help with the watering, and it became part of their daily routine to check for ripe veggies. I’m counting that as a success! 😀

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