May 30, 2021 9:59 AM

KRUG: Kids and vegetables

Posted May 30, 2021 9:59 AM
Donna Krug is the District Director and Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District.
Donna Krug is the District Director and Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District.

Summer is almost here and that means kids will be eating more meals and snacks at home. Keeping those meals and snacks healthy over the summer can be easy with a little planning. Following the MyPlate food guide system for healthy eating reminds us that half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. A generous portion of whole grains and a small portion of lean protein, plus a calcium rich food choice, round out the healthy plate.

When my kids were growing up and now when we spend time with our grandkids, it makes me smile when I see their eagerness with eating fresh fruit and vegetables. I often hear mom’s say that their kids hate vegetables. My answer to them is “Do your kids really hate vegetables, or have you given them a chance to love them?” In the curriculum, Food is Elementary, by Dr. Antonia Demas, students are allowed to first smell the food and then slowly taste new whole foods. When kids are involved in selecting and preparing vegetables they are more likely to eat them. Try preparing vegetables in a variety of ways, from raw, to lightly steamed, to stir fried. Children follow adult examples, so make sure they see you enjoying your veggies too.

The task of eating more fresh vegetables and fruits is easier when you keep a good supply of choices on hand. Soon our farmers markets will be open with some great choices of locally grown produce. Late cold weather pushed back the planting of many gardens but hopefully now that it has warmed up you are still thinking about planting something. Research shows that when kids learn about vegetables and fruits by growing them, they are more likely to eat them.

Take time now that school is winding down, to sit down with your kids and get them involved in meal planning. Make a deal with them to try one new vegetable every week of the summer and you will expand their healthy plate. As the kids get older you can offer age appropriate chores related to meal preparation and serving. Giving children choices when it comes to what is served gives them a sense of ownership. If a new food is not liked the first time it is offered, wait a couple of weeks and try again with the food prepared in a different way.

If anyone reading this would like ideas on foods to prepare with youngsters, I hope you will take a few minutes and check out the following website: https://www.myplate.gov/myplate-kitchen There are some excellent kid-friendly recipes, many that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. There is an option on the website to save your favorite recipes and create a cookbook that is saved in a file or printed off.

Have a fun summer in the kitchen!

Donna Krug is the District Director and Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. You may reach her at: 793-1910 or [email protected]