“We found that moms understand the health benefits of fruits and vegetables but struggle to get their family to eat them,” said Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., RD, president and CEO, Produce for Better Health Foundation. “Today, Americans are currently eating less than half of the recommended cups of fruits and vegetables each day.”
To better understand the situation, the Produce for Better Health Foundation conducted its annual research on “Moms’ Attitudes and Beliefs Related to Fruit & Vegetable Consumption.”
The study found:
Ninety percent agree that a diet that includes fruits and vegetables may help their child avoid obesity.
Ninety percent agree that a diet with more fruits and vegetables promotes their family’s overall health and may prevent disease, now and in the future.
Ninety percent agree that a diet that includes fruits and vegetables may help promote well-being of mind and body.
Eighty-nine percent agree that more fruits and vegetables plus more physical activity means the family can be at its best.
There’s been a steady improvement over time in the level of ease moms reported regarding their ability to access fruits and vegetables for their families at restaurants and quick-service restaurants.
Setting out a fruit bowl, having vegetables cut up and ready to eat in the refrigerator, and finding ways to hide produce in other foods are some of the ways to get more fruits and vegetables into a family’s diet. The research also found that kids tend to eat more produce when they are involved in the growing, selecting and preparing of food. To get kids more involved, Pivonka provided these tips:
1. Let kids get involved in planning meals for the week and challenge them to find ways to make sure a fruit and vegetable are included in each meal. Remember, canned, frozen and dried fruits or vegetables, in addition to fresh, are all great options!
2.Get kids involved in using produce to make juices or smoothies. It can be a fun activity for kids to use a blender or juicer to show them there are other ways to eat your fruits and vegetables.
3.Teach kids about produce that’s in season and how to select the best produce. Take them to a farmer’s market to talk with growers. This also provides a great opportunity to try new produce they didn’t know they enjoyed.
4.Starting a backyard garden can be a great way to get kids interested and involved.
Families looking for ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in their meals can go to www.morematters.org to find delicious recipes and additional tips.