“Eat more fruits and vegetables” is a phrase that most Americans are familiar with. What adults fail to remember, however, is that their children need plenty of fruits and vegetables for optimal growth and development. Consistent research shows that plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart disease (Campbell, 2012; AND, 2009). The execution of plant-based eating, especially when it comes to children, is where many people stumble.
Some youngsters actually do enjoy variety of plant-based foods and generally consume the recommended daily servings of key food groups. Unfortunately, many children snub their noses at fruits and vegetables, so parents face daily mealtime challenges.
As you know, the benefits of eating a plant-based diet beginning in early childhood are plentiful. Fruits and vegetables are lower in calories than many processed foods; they are abundant in phytochemicals, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. Over the next few weeks, we will discuss the benefits of eating a variety of plant-based foods starting in childhood, and will offer strategies to help your family embrace fruits and vegetables at every meal.