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

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3 thoughts on “Go for the Greens

  1. Hi! As a chef and nutrition enthusiastic I would like to leave my opinion. I think the program and the movement that’s taking place in schools are a huge step to make kids eat better, but I think some things are still missing in the discussion. One of them is the general mindset of treating vegetables as something naturally not desirable, tasteless, my least option. That’s an evidence of how much the society’s taste buds are used to the wrong things. That being said, like you prepare your candies and pizzas to make it tasty, why not making the same effort with the veggies? You need to prepare them right too, cook the proper way and season them right in order to make them tasty also Instagram of making them effortlessly and bland, and then say we’re giving the option and blaming the children for not eating them. I don’t know if that’s the case in this specific subject, but I’m pointing it out because I’ve seen this before many times. At last, one of the most important things is the eating education at home. Children who are not given proper food, natural, real food since their early days are not likely to make the right choices anywhere else. I believe the more we discuss about this subject, people will be more and more conscious about their own choices and no industry will have power against that. That’s the most powerful instrument we have to change this sad picture of obesity specially in children. Thanks for the space and let’s talk about it, that’s the most effective tool we have.

    1. Hi Bruna, Thank you for expressing your concerns regarding a matter so important to us both! We hear and share your enthusiasm in promoting nutritious and delicious food that the students enjoy. We appreciate feedback from you as we strive to work together to make positive progress and changes.

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