More Fruits, More Veggies? Sing a Song of Salad Bars

By Marilynn Preston

August 20, 2019 5 min read

Getting kids to eat their fruits and veggies wasn't a problem when that was all there was to eat. Whatever the family grew outside the cave came to the table, along with the entire family. No child stayed in his room with his headphones, listening to the Naked Brothers Band, and wild celery roots were relished by teens as a reward for good marksmanship.

Times have changed. Today, motivating kids to eat their fruits and veggies is easier than getting the adults to, but it's still tricky. And yet, it is so, so important. If you don't know why, you're free to go now. But if you're looking for ways to get your kids to consume more carrots, apples and, yes, even more broccoli, you've come to the right column.

September just happens to be "Fruits and Veggies — More Matters" Month, as proclaimed by the nonprofit Produce For Better Health, or PBH (not to be confused with PB&J, an easy sell to kids compared to homemade muesli).

PBH works with schools, hospitals and parents to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. They create and sell classroom posters — "School Salad Bars Rock!" — and CDs, books and games with positive messages and inspiring images.

For instance, window-shopping on pbhfoundation.org, I came across a sporty-looking poster captioned, "Power Your Day With Fruits and Vegetables."

It's a photo of a young woman dressed in a soccer uniform doing a header, except, instead of a ball, she's hitting her head against a cauliflower.

Is this really an effective way to get kids to eat their crucifers? Hmmm ... I hope so. PBH has been around since 1991, fighting the good fight for healthier kids and happier parents. If they want to designate September as "Fruits and Veggies — More Matters" Month (what a mouthful!), I say go for it!

Why? Because 34% of U.S. adults and 13 million children are obese, says the PBH site. (I stopped counting long ago.)

One festive way to overturn the tide of rising fat is to promote healthy eating. I don't just mean in schools and hospitals. I mean in your child's own bedroom.

Next time your child is out of the house, push into the bedroom and cover the Lady Gaga poster with one from the PBH store that says, "Salad Bars Help You Play All Day."

It's a big photo of a cute kid playing a huge tuba stuffed with grapes, tomatoes and bananas. Get it? Play all day.

Look around the room. Find a good place to set up a CD player so your kid can come in from a busy day at school, lie back and listen to the bold sounds of the "Smart Fruit and Veggies Songs" CD.

If that doesn't strike the right note, try placing some recipe cards around the room so that as soon as they come home, they can start thinking about what they want to prepare in the kitchen.

"Mom!" your kid will call out, going through his pack of 10 kid recipes. "Shall I make the tabbouleh salad tonight or the Norwegian berry pudding?"

I make the joke, but in fact, getting kids in the kitchen and cooking with you is a seriously good way to get them to eat and enjoy more fruits and veggies.

Another great tactic came to me recently from a proud dad of a 9 year old who loves his veggies. I asked Matthew how he did it.

"I used to say, right in front of my son, 'Sebastian won't like broccoli because that's just for older kids,' and he'd say, 'Gimme a chance!'"

Now Sebastian is growing up loving his kale and carrots, and that's that. No big deal. No drama. And no processed food in the house.

ENERGY EXPRESS-O! MORE OF THIS, LESS OF THAT

"All forms count: fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice." — PBH, Produce for Better Health

Marilynn Preston is the author of "Energy Express," America's longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new Amazon best-seller, "All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being," is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at creators.com/books/all-is-well to learn more. For more on personal well-being, visit www.MarilynnPreston.com.

Photo credit: RitaE at Pixabay

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