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Did you know that only 10% of children in the United States consume the daily recommended amounts of vegetables? We’re on a mission to help change that.
We are thrilled to announce our involvement as a partner for the national Veggies Early and Often campaign led by the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). Our goal is to raise the next generation of veggie lovers, to ensure your little one becomes a healthy, happy, and adventurous eater, for life.
Did you know children are born with a natural preference for sweet and salty flavors? It’s true. Other tastes, such as bitter, savory, or even the spicier tastes of some vegetables, take time to develop. Don’t be discouraged while trying to broaden their interests, though. It can take 10 or more attempts for a child to accept a new vegetable—so don’t give up!
To do our part in introducing new flavors, we have increased the number of times vegetables are offered on our menus. You will now see two vegetables offered at lunchtime, each Friday. More vegetables are also being offered at breakfast and during snack time on the infant menus, for schools that participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
Variety is key. Each color of vegetable provides different nutrients. We offer five different pureed vegetables on our CACFP infant menu already and plans are in the works to further expand these offerings. We also offer 26 different vegetable varieties on our children’s menu. Our hope is that offering such a wide assortment of vegetables will help foster the development of a broad palate.
It is important to note that despite our best efforts, children do generally go through an expected period of reluctance when it comes to trying new foods. This phase generally peaks around 24 months and typically fades throughout childhood. Knowing this makes early childhood the perfect time to help better develop taste preferences for nutritious vegetables.
For more information about how you can encourage your littlest eaters to consume more veggies, check out the Veggies Early & Often Guide for Parents and Caregivers. Or, get more details from the PHA website.
Together, we’ll spread the love for veggies and inspire a new generation of healthy eaters!