By Sarah Ransom

There is an ever increasing number of people not eating their recommended daily serving of vegetables. One survey reported that almost 60 percent of children are not meeting their daily servings (Healthy Kids, 2013).

There are many reasons that children, and adults, 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.

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 milk. Children (and adults!) will eat what you make available to them. Make vegetables more appealing by paring them fun fruits or their favorite healthy drinks.

When preparing vegetables, find recipes that use favorite spices, such as garlic, table blends, cinnamon, nutmeg or fresh onions. When you flavor food properly, it makes it more appealing to the taste buds. You can also insert vegetables into favorite recipes. Adding them slowly allows the children to adjust to the new flavors. You may even find they will soon come to crave them.

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 try the new food willingly.

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, heart 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.

Sources
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, October 31). Tips for parents – ideas to help children maintain a healthy weight. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/children/

Healthy Kids: Eat Healthy, Get Active, “Healthy Kids: Eat More Fruits and Vegies.” Last modified 2013. Accessed June 10, 2013. http://www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au/home/fact-sheets/eat-more-fruit-and-vegies.aspx.