Whether you are battling over broccoli or struggling over squash, trying to convince children to eat their veggies and try new foods can be tough. Parents worry about their children developing good eating habits, getting essential vitamins and staying healthy—all of which can be attained with exercise and daily servings of vegetables.
Saturday, August 12, from Noon- 3:00 pm
Grace United Methodist Church, 1001 Harvard Bldv., Dayton
Free for all ages.
The American Heart Association suggests that the average adult consuming 2,000 calories eat 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day, while children should eat anywhere between one and three cups a day (depending on age). With childhood obesity on the rise, it’s more important than ever to encourage children to make healthy choices, although picky eaters may not always be on the same page.
Getting kids to eat their veggies doesn’t have to be a challenge, even for the pickiest of eaters. Start by marking your calendar for Veggie-palooza, Dayton’s annual celebration of local produce, on Saturday, August 12!
- Dress it up: Putting vegetables in common foods that your children are used to is a great idea for parents, according to Five Rivers MetroParks education coordinator, Luci Beachdell. Throw some extra tomatoes on your homemade pizza, opt for veggie lasagna or top off your baked potato with some broccoli.
- Make it fun: Taking children to places where they can use their senses to discover new things, including veggies, is a great idea to widen their horizons. On August 12, from noon to 3 p.m., Five Rivers MetroParks and the United Way’s Volunteer Connection will host Veggie-palooza. A free, family friendly afternoon of veggie tasting, hands-on activities, demonstrations and more, Veggie-palooza is the perfect opportunity to introduce kids (and adults) to new, nutritious produce. Visitors also will have a chance to make their own pizza with help from chef Liz, Wheat Penny’s baker.
Visit the Children’s Discovery Garden at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark for a sensory adventure of sight, touch and smell. For more hands-on fun, visit Possum Creek MetroPark’s Edible Farm to learn more about local food, including growing fruits and vegetables, and then head to the Edible Landscape Garden at Cox Arboretum MetroPark and explore a unique array of fruits, vegetables and herbs.
- Let them help: Kids are curious by nature, which means they love to get hands-on. Let them help you cook a dinner that includes fresh veggies. While your child is helping you peel, mash or season vegetables, talk to them about what they will be eating, why vegetables are healthy and more.
- Grow your own: Now that you have some inspiration from visiting gardens in your favorite MetroParks, consider growing a garden of your own. Allowing your children to help by planting seeds, weeding and watering will help them feel engaged, and they will be more likely to taste their creations. If you don’t know where to start, consider attending a MetroParks gardening program and then check out this list of veggies that are perfect for August planting.
- Hide and seek: For the pickiest eaters, many parents consider “hiding” veggies in food. There are plenty of recipes that allow parents to sneak additional veggies into meals, such as butternut squash mac and cheese, zucchini fries and veggie chili. For a long list of recipes, click here.
Learn more about Five River MetroParks by visiting www.metroparks.org.