The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 requires that schools serve vegetable subgroups each week including dark green, red/orange, starchy, legume, and other. All Pittsburgh Public Schools serve vegetables daily, per the nutrition requirements, but are they being consumed?
Plate waste studies in Pittsburgh Public Schools have shown extremely low acceptance of green vegetables. In one study, only 17 of 150 students chose a vegetable at lunch, and only half of those students ate their vegetables.
The Food Service Department, always looking for ways to increase vegetable consumption, has partnered with Monteverde’s Produce Company to showcase raw, fresh, crunchy green vegetables at schools across the district. Encouragingly, students have been overwhelmingly excited about the opportunity to try vegetables outside of the school lunch program. Throughout the fall, many of the green vegetables will be sourced locally.
What can you do to get your children to eat more vegetables?
- Serve vegetables as snack, separate from meal time. Kids are more likely to eat vegetables when they are hungry and there are no tastier options available.
- Serve raw vegetables with a low-fat dip.
- Be a role model. When your kids see you eating vegetables, they are more likely to try them.
- Remember that it can take an average of 7-15 exposures for a child to become accustomed to new foods, especially vegetables.
Elizabeth Henry, MS, RD, LDN