Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

1 Simple Way to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Fruits and Veggies

Food
1 Simple Way to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Fruits and Veggies

You can lead a kid to vegetables—and other healthy foods—but you can't make her eat them.

If they're hungry, they'll eat anything, even if it's healthy and nutritious.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

But one school has come up with a simple, ingenious and intuitive fix that has caused the amount of produce eaten during lunches to soar. The answer is to tire them out and make them ravenous. Then they'll eat anything—even if it's good for them!

The National School Lunch Program, which provides free and low-cost meals to more than 100,000 schools across the country, noticed that when children were required to put a fruit and a vegetable on their trays, they weren't necessarily eating them. About 70 percent of them were getting thrown away—more than $3.8 million worth every day. And while offering a small reward did increase consumption, a lot was still wasted.

So researchers Joseph Price from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and David Just from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York sent observers to seven schools in Orem, Utah, to see what kids in grades one through six were actually eating, documenting how much produce they tossed in the trash.

Then they tried an intriguing experiment. Most schools schedule recess immediately after lunch with the idea that kids could work off what they just ate. But the researchers theorized that they were rushing through lunch, eating only what they liked and throwing the rest away, eager to get out and play.

"Recess is a pretty big deal to kids," Price told the Salt Lake City Tribune. "So if you make them choose between recess and vegetables, recess is going to win."

So they decided to see what would happen if they flipped the order, sending kids to recess before lunch. They moved three of the schools to that new schedule.

The results were striking. Apparently, the kids worked up quite a health appetite. They ate 54 percent more fruits and vegetables and there was a 45 percent increase in the number who ate at least one serving of produce.

"Not only do kids eat more vegetables, but they throw less away," Price told the Tribune. "For a school trying to serve good fruits and vegetables, it’s encouraging to know you can get more in the tummy and less in the trash."

Modern Farmer reported on the story, noting, "The researchers recommend that every single school make the switch, and though this study only looked at kids of a certain age in one town in Utah, the results certainly seem promising enough to convince schools to try it. What’s the worst that could happen, after all?"

Your kid might discover that broccoli isn't poisonous after all?

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Cafeteria Man Fights for Healthier School Food

Nation's First All-Vegan School Menu Coming to Los Angeles

School Garden Program Teaches Kids to Eat and Grow Healthy Food

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock" — an estimate of how close humanity is to the apocalypse — remains at 100 seconds to zero for 2021. Eva Hambach / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

One hundred seconds to midnight. That's how close humanity is to the apocalypse, and it's as close as the world has ever been, according to Wednesday's annual announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group that has been running its "Doomsday Clock" since the early years of the nuclear age in 1947.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The 13th North Atlantic right whale calf with their mother off Wassaw Island, Georgia on Jan. 19, 2010. @GeorgiaWild, under NOAA permit #20556

North Atlantic right whales are in serious trouble, but there is hope. A total of 14 new calves of the extremely endangered species have been spotted this winter between Florida and North Carolina.

Read More Show Less

Trending

There are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients. Marko Geber / Getty Images

By Yoram Vodovotz and Michael Parkinson

The majority of Americans are stressed, sleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure, 10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.

Read More Show Less
Candles spell out, "Fight for 1 point 5" in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany on Dec. 11, 2020, in reference to 1.5°C of Earth's warming. The event was organized by the Fridays for Future climate movement. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Taking an unconventional approach to conduct the largest-ever poll on climate change, the United Nations' Development Program and the University of Oxford surveyed 1.2 million people across 50 countries from October to December of 2020 through ads distributed in mobile gaming apps.

Read More Show Less
A monarch butterfly is perched next to an adult caterpillar on a milkweed plant, the only plant the monarch will lay eggs on and the caterpillar will eat. Cathy Keifer / Getty Images

By Tara Lohan

Fall used to be the time when millions of monarch butterflies in North America would journey upwards of 2,000 miles to warmer winter habitat.

Read More Show Less