FOR some people, the thought of eating a variety of leafy green vegetables is enough to make them feel healthy.
As a mom of a teenage girl, I often cook vegetables for different dishes and encourage her to eat them. More often than not, however, she will have a hard time finishing her meal or she will pick out the vegetables and place them aside.
I interviewed several local women in Koblerville and Garapan and they, too, said that most of their children do not care about vegetables at all.
One woman said she regularly buys fresh vegetables but her kids prefer fried or canned food.
The good news is, Science Daily reported recently that nutrition researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have found a way to get children to eat their vegetables: school gardens.
According to Science Daily, the study “found that students who participated in…gardening, nutrition and cooking classes ate, on average, a half serving more vegetables per day than they did before the program.”
Jaimie Davis, associate professor of nutritional sciences at UT Austin and the lead author of the paper, said teaching kids where their food comes from, how to grow it, how to prepare it is the key to changing eating behaviors over the long term.
Davis added, “Behavior changes can be difficult to achieve, especially long term.” But “getting children to eat more vegetables can potentially set them up for long-term success.”
Davis said they were “able to introduce children to a wide variety of vegetables that they've never had access to. Parents I talk with ask, ‘How did you get my kid to eat kale?’ But when they grow the kale from seed and learn how to prepare it in olive oil and bake it into kale chips, they love it.”