National Eat Your Veggies Day

Eat your veggies!

by Fiona Diggins

A question we hear all too often is, ‘How can we get children to eat more vegetables?’ Eat Your Vegetables Day is on 17 June and seems the opportune time to discuss this and provide some handy tips.

Being vegan provides a different perspective on food and energy, and inevitably leads to discovering and experimenting with new foods—which can be both fun and rewarding. I talked to a number of teachers and parents to find out their strategies both for maintaining energy and preventing burnout in teachers, and making vegetables irresistible for children!

Tips for teachers:

  • Make sure you’re getting plenty of protein! There’s stacks of it in watercress, alfalfa sprouts, spinach, bok choy, asparagus and broccoli; as well as beans, peas and lentils, to name a few. An easy way to include it in your diet is to add some spinach leaves to your breakfast smoothie.
  • Keep a jar/container of seeds and nuts for a tasty, energising snack on the go. A great alternative for ‘nut-free’ schools is sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds, and flaxseeds. (Check out this Power bread recipe from One Green Planet for a yummy snack.)
  • Avocado is packed with healthy fats and nutrients, and is extremely versatile. Click here to find out all about the brilliance of avocados.

Tips for children:

  • Involve them in the process of choosing and preparing vegetables. They can experiment with different colours and shapes.
  • Eat the alphabet! Check out this fun and educational idea from The Good Long Road, who provides a comprehensive list of A–Z fruit and vegetables and how eating them can be enjoyable.
  • Describe vegetables as ‘strong’ rather than ‘healthy’ food; many of the parents and teachers mentioned that by choosing different adjectives they made ‘boring’ and ‘yucky’ food more appealing. Creative Family Fun have a simple activity on how to get the kids involved. Check it out here.

Some favourite snacks: 

  • veggie sticks (e.g. cucumber, zucchini, carrot) and hummus
  • wraps with hummus, lettuce, cucumber, peeled or grated carrots and capsicum
  • carrot/celery sticks or apple with 100% natural peanut butter
  • mixed beans, peas and lentils
  • avocado on crackers or wholemeal bread

Image sourced from Ordinary Vegan.

by Fiona Diggins