St. Patrick’s Day is a great time for kids to try new green foods

There are many creative ways to incorporate healthy green fruits and vegetables in meals for kids.

February 21, 2018 - Author: Kendra Wills, Michigan State University Extension

According to a 2018 Center for Disease Control report, nine out of every 10 American children don’t eat enough vegetables. The federal MyPlate healthy eating guidelines call for children ages 2-3 to eat one cup of vegetables each day. Children ages 4-8 should eat 1.5 cups of vegetables each day. Parents know this can be challenging, but a little creativity and fun can support healthy eating habits.

For example, St. Patrick’s Day is a great opportunity to incorporate green fruits and vegetables into your meals. Green smoothies for breakfast or a hearty collard green, egg and potato frittata as breakfast for dinner are great ways of adding some green for the holiday. Even adding a simple sliced kiwi with pancakes or in a packed lunch is an easy way to add a little green to a meal.

If you do a quick search for St. Patrick’s Day recipes you will find all kinds of sweet treats, salty meats and dense breads. These probably aren’t the best choices if you are trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your child’s diet. This is a link with some healthier St. Patty’s Day recipes from Huffington Post, such as spinach muffins and avocado bean hummus, which both seem like foods kids would enjoy.  Remember cooking with pre-cut frozen vegetables can save some time and can be just as nutritious as fresh.

Even though cooking with vegetables can take some extra time and effort, there are many reasons getting kids to eat fruits and vegetables is important, including:

  • Reduced risk of obesity and diabetes
  • Reduced risk for cancer
  • Reduced risk for heart and cardiovascular disorders
  • Increases overall health and energy levels

Michigan State University Extension provides support and resources for meal planning, cooking and healthy eating. To learn more about our workshops, recipes, and tips, visit www.msue.anr.msu.edu

Tags: community, msu extension


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