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Sandra Cain

Sandra CainBy: Sandra R. Cain

Believe it or not, it is possible to raise kids who like eating a wide
variety of vegetables. The secret is to never bribe or threaten them
about eating green or orange things. Just follow as many of these simple
steps as you can.

*Enjoy a variety of vegetables yourself*

The most important thing that adults can do for children’s eating is to
model healthy habits. If you enjoy eating a wide variety of foods,
including vegetables, children will see that as the normal thing to do.
There’s no need to make a big deal about your enjoyment, just make
vegetables a tasty part of every meal. If you eat vegetables, so will
your children.

*Grow a vegetable garden*

Most adults know there’s nothing better than the taste of freshly picked
vegetables. Kids love to pick and eat almost anything that they have
grown themselves. There is more than one way to grow your own fresh
vegetables. You could use a container on the porch. If you have space,
dig up a backyard plot. If you can’t do this, take your children with
you to the grocery store or farmer’s market.Let them help you pick out
the vegetables to buy.

*Cut up vegetables for meals and snacks*

Children usually like the taste and texture of raw vegetables better
than cooked ones. Serve a small plate of bite sized vegetables at every
meal. Try broccoli florets, baby carrots, celery sticks, cucumber
slices, sweet pepper pieces or sugar snap pea pods. Add some low-fat
Ranch dip. Kids will naturally get into a crunchy, healthy habit.

*Serve bright, colorful vegetables*

Everyone eats with their eyes first. Children and adults will find
bright and colorful vegetables more appealing. Overcooked, mushy
vegetables are likely to turn everyone off. When cooking vegetables,
keep them brightly colored and crunchy in texture. The best way to do
this is to steam or microwave them for just a few minutes.

*Be adventurous with vegetables*

When children see vegetables as tasty and fun, they are much more likely
to enjoy eating them. Buy new items and try new recipes. These are some
easy ways to make nutrition fun for children. Need ideas for making
vegetables more adventurous in your kitchen? Visit www.foodchamps.org
for recipes, games, coloring sheets and more!

Source:N.C. Department of Health and Human Services

*Italian Mixed Vegetables*

1 package (24 ounces) frozen California blend vegetables

¼ cup water

¼ cup reduced-fat Italian salad dressing

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon dried basil

1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

In a large nonstick skillet, bring vegetables and water to a boil. Cover
and cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are
crisp-tender. Uncover. Cook and stir until liquid is reduced. Add the salad
dressing, salt, basil and oregano. Cook and stir until heated
through. Yield:6 servings.