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Small veggie gardens helps kids eat nutritiously


September 30, 2008
By Dean Fosdick The Associated Press

Sept. 30, 2008 – A small vegetable garden can encourage children to both eat nutritiously and start an early interest in gardening according to an Associated Press story by Dean Fosdick.

A small vegetable garden can
encourage children to both eat nutritiously and start an early interest
in gardening according to the following story by Dean Fosdick of the Associated Press:

It isn't always love at first bite when kids and vegetables meet. Children often have to be coaxed into entering this healthy and life-long relationship.

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Here's a matchmaking suggestion: Get things going with a small vegetable garden, even if it's only in a window box.

"The more you can build interest in getting your children to garden, the more they'll want to try eating what they grow, including vegetables," said Jill Le Brasseur, a spokeswoman for the Produce for Better Health Foundation in Wilmington, Del., a non-profit consumer education group. "If they help select the vegetables, plant the seeds and weed, they'll feel more personally involved. They'll be willing to try anything."

Also, shift the focus to the produce section of your supermarket [or your garden centre], where youngsters can explore an array of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.

Children aged six through 13 should be served three to five cups (one cup is the equivalent of about 250 millilitres) of fruits and vegetables each day – fresh, canned, frozen, dried or juiced.

Here are some prepare-ahead menu ideas from the Produce for Better Health Foundation. Many are perfect for packing in lunch boxes. Collectively, they provide all the daily nutrients for a child's 1,800-calorie meal plan, the foundation said.

Breakfast. Add 30 ml (2 tbsp) of raisins to a bowl of whole-grain cereal.

Mid-morning snack: A half-dozen apple slices dipped in peanut butter or soy nut butter.

Lunch: Slip them each 250 ml (1 cup) of corn; a salad of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and bell pepper slices; and 125 ml (1/2 cup) of canned peaches in their natural juices.

Afternoon snack: Offer 50 ml (1/4 cup) or more of fresh green beans and carrot sticks accompanied by a low-fat yogurt dip.

Dinner: 125 ml (1/2 cup) of steamed cauliflower, half of a large sweet potato, mashed, and 50 ml (1/4 cup) of strawberries.


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