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Coastal Alabama Farmers & Fishermens Market

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Encourage Your Kids to Become Fruit and Veggie Connoisseurs (Author: Kristin Louis)
Photo Credit Pexels1.jpg

Instead of joining the hoards of parents who are helping make their children connoisseurs of fast food, why not get your children started early on becoming fruit and veggie experts instead. According to the author of Fast Food Nation Eric Schlosser, Americans spent around $6 billion on fast food in the 70s, and today that figure has climbed to well over $100 billion. We’re now spending more money on fast food then we do on higher education or a new car. In fact, he reports that we’re “eating ourselves to death” as we’ve spent more money on junk food than books, magazines, newspapers, videos and music combined.

As parents, you can prevent the cycle that’s leading to the nation’s obesity crisis by teaching your child healthy eating habits. According to the study Influences on the Development of Children's Eating Behaviours: From Infancy to Adolescence, our eating behaviors are formed during the early years; that is when we learn, “what, when, and how much” to eat. 

To help your child develop a love for fruits and veggies you may need to lean on a little bit of creative thinking. Let’s face it, not all kids see the joy in selecting a juicy, soft peach over a crispy, warm French fry.

Here are a few effective ways to get your child to be fruit and veggie connoisseurs.

Visit A Local Farmers Market

Visiting a farmers market gives children a chance to meet local growers and see the kinds of fruits and veggies they’re growing. Help them learn how to identify the different fruits and veggies and share recipes. Also, give them a wallet or a purse and let them shop for which new, unique types of produce they want to try.

Get Them In The Kitchen

After they’ve shopped for their healthy choices, set up time in the kitchen where you can work on recipes or preparations that include what they’ve chosen. For example, if they chose peaches, teach them how to make peach cobbler. Or, have them husk corn on the cob for dinner. They become more invested in the end product when they help buy and prepare it. And teaching children to cook may help them become healthier eaters.

Experiment With Recipes

Once you’ve introduced your child to cooking, take it to the next level and work together to find fun and flavorful recipes that include fruits or vegetables. Teach them how to make chocolate chip zucchini bread, blueberry muffins, a yummy stir fry, fun colorful shish kabobs, fruit smoothies or a creative fruit dip.

Make Food Fun

Sure you may not be keen on letting your child play with their food, but allowing them time to make artwork with colorful fruits and vegetables just might get them more interested in eating them.

Have Some Online Fun
Every parent knows children love time on a tablet or a computer playing games and exploring. Take time to show them the educational side of the internet by visiting sites that teach about certain subjects such as healthy eating. 
Fruits & Veggies More Matters is a great website designed by Produce for Better Health Foundation to encourage the consumption of healthy fruits and veggies.

Don’t Give Up

As easy as it is to just want to throw in the towel when your child turns their nose up, research shows that if you stick with it eight to 10 times by insisting they try one or two bites, eventually they’ll accept that food.

Instead of “eating yourself to death” like Schlosser suggests we’re doing, work with your children to help them “eat themselves healthy.” Form a foundation early for understanding the health benefits of eating a nutritious diet. Explain how it staves off disease, how it improves their mood, how it keeps their weight in check, and even how it helps them learn better. And remember, if you teach them to be healthy eaters, they’ll also be modeling healthy eating for their children. It’s a legacy we can all afford to pass along.

Author: Kristin Louis

Photo Credit: Pexels




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