Q: I keep seeing recommendations about cups of vegetables, but I’m confused about how many I should be eating. What about my kids?
A: If you’re like most adults, you should be aiming for 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day, as seen in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern from the Dietary Guidelines. This amount also holds for children ages 9 and older. Targets for children age 8 and under, are less – about 1 to 1.5 cups a day.
“Cups” of vegetables mostly refers to a portion equal to one measuring cup for raw or cooked vegetables. For lettuce, spinach or other raw leafy vegetables however, two cups count as a cup. A medium carrot, celery stalk and small pepper each count as half a cup. If you don’t want to measure, an average adult fist is a rough guide to a 1-cup portion. So you can aim for one to two fist-size portions of vegetables at lunch and dinner each day. Read more… “Health Talk: How many vegetables should I be eating? What about my kids?”
If you’re the parent of an infant or toddler, you’ve probably given a lot of thought to how you can raise a non-picky eater who enjoys a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and doesn’t overdo it on junk food. Diets rich in colorful fruits and vegetables and low in sugary and energy-dense foods and drinks can help kids (and parents) maintain a healthy weight, prevent cancer as adults and reduce their risk of other chronic diseases.
Raising kids that prefer healthy foods isn’t easy, but a new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests strategies that parents can try with their young children that may affect what foods kids enjoy and eat more of as they get older. It joins a growing body of research pointing to the importance of introducing a wide variety of vegetables to children under the age of 2. It also provide new evidence that parents should avoid introducing foods low in nutrients, but high in saturated fat, added sugars, or salt to young children who haven’t yet tasted them.
This study used data from the NOURISH trial, a randomized control trial that began in Australia in 2008. The original study looked at whether providing new mothers with guidance on feeding and parenting practices affected outcomes as children got older. In this new study, researchers analyzed data from 340 mother-child pairs to see whether the amount of fruits, vegetables, and noncore (low-nutrient) foods tried by 14-month olds affected their preference for and intake of these foods, food fussiness, and weight about two and half years later. Read more… “Study: Toddlers who try more veggies less picky years later”
Coleslaw is a staple side with barbecue and Tex-Mex style dishes because of the cool, refreshing crunch it adds to a heavier meal. I’ve always been a fan of citrus or vinegar-based slaws rather than traditional mayonnaise-based ones. The acidity from this type of slaw pairs well with the sauces and flavors that are common in BBQ and Tex-Mex dishes. The lighter dressing also helps brings out the natural flavors of the veggies in the coleslaw.
For today’s Healthy Recipe, I made a modified version of AICR’s fiesta slaw featuring a variety of colorful bell peppers instead of traditional cabbage and carrots. Bell peppers are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C. Additionally, they contain numerous phytochemicals, which may help reduce your risk of cancer.
I love that this recipe includes a variety of naturally sweet, crunchy and spicy ingredients – the sweetness from the orange juice, mango and apple cut some of the heat from the jalapeño pepper.
It’s also one of the most vibrant veggie sides I’ve ever made. I always emphasize the importance of eating a rainbow to my patients and clients. The colors in foods represent different nutrients and phytochemicals, so the more (naturally) colorful your foods are the better!