(NaturalNews) Increased vegetable and fruit availability leads to increased intake. In response to the federal government's push to serve healthier foods in schools, many districts have increased the availability of fruits and vegetables in their cafeterias. Some schools serve a vegetable or fruit of the month, encouraging students to try foods they have, perhaps, never tasted. Officials in these schools understand the need to be patient. As Dr. Janey Thornton, deputy undersecretary for USDA's Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, points out, "Many of these children have never seen or tasted some of the fruits and vegetables that are being served before, and it takes a while to adapt and learn." (nydailynews.com)
Food Labeling: Tiny Tasty Tree Tops Get Kids to Eat Vegetables!
What you call it does make a difference, especially in the mind of a child. A study in Preventive Medicine found that simply labeling foods with creative names increased vegetable intake. Names such as "Tiny, Tasty Tree Tops" instead of broccoli increased vegetable consumption one hundred percent! The study found that "elementary students ate twice the percentage of their carrots if attractively named as "X-ray Vision Carrots," than if un-named or generically named as the "Food of the Day."
USDA study cites increased fruit and vegetable consumption and some students exceed daily intake
The USDA's own Constance Newman, author of the report "Fruit and Vegetable Consumption by School Lunch Participants: Implications for the Success of New Nutrition Standards" issued this month, reports that students in schools that offered greater quantities of fruits and vegetables consumed more of these foods by most measures. The Department of Agriculture reported in August that students in schools that offered more fruits and vegetables actually ate them! In many cases, students exceeded the daily standard amount of fruit and vegetable intake if they attended schools that offered more of them.
Make fruits and veggies available
Sheer availability of healthy foods is key. If healthy food is the only food available to children in our schools and in our homes, they will eat it. While children may need up to 14 tries for their taste buds to adjust and begin to like a new food, if we continue to offer fruits and vegetables and even present them in an amusing way, children will try them and, eventually, learn to love them.
About the author: Jeff Hillenbrand and Hillary Feerick have been married for eighteen years and have two children, ages eight and nine. Jeff holds a BS in exercise physiology and nutrition. Hillary has been a teacher of writing and literature for twenty years and holds a BA and MA in English. Their combined expertise and experience raising healthy children prompted them to create a superhero that gets superpowers from fruits and veggies and solves mysteries at his elementary school. The Mitch Spinach Book Series has been featured across the country on numerous radio and television programs, and, according to NPR, "Mitch Spinach is to nutrition what Harry Potter is to wizardry."
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