Healthy Children - June 2013


Vary Your Veggies

8 Ways to Vary Your Veggies

  1. Visit a greenhouse that grows vegetables inside.
  2. Each time you try a new vegetable; have your child draw a picture of it.
  3. Make ants on a log; Stuff celery with peanut butter and dot with raisins.
  4. Make lettuce leaf roll-ups: Spoon cottage cheese or tuna salad onto a lettuce leaf. Roll up and enjoy.
  5. Cut fresh vegetables into small sticks, and ask your child to pick some sticks to eat.
  6. Play a fun vegetable game. Put a vegetable in a paper bag. Have your child feel the shape and guess the vegetable.
  7. Save money by buying fresh and locally grown vegetables, but only what you will use while it is still fresh. Buy these vegetables at a local farmers market.
  8. Teach your child why it is important to eat colorful vegetables each day. Vegetables provide vitamins and fiber, and they are low in fat and salt. Choose fresh, frozen or canned vegetables to get the best deal for your money. You should try to eat 2 ½ cups and your child 1 ½ cups of colorful vegetables each day.


Quick and Tasty Veggie Soup

Yield: 8 cups
7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon onion powder
¾ cup dried macaroni
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper.
1. Combine chicken broth, diced tomatoes, basil, onion powder, salt and pepper in a large pan
2. Bring to a simmer, add macaroni and frozen vegetables
3. Cook for 8 minutes then remove from heat
4. Let soup sit for 5 minutes, then serve
5. Enjoy


Vary Your Veggies Activity: Let’s Vote: Touch, Taste, Smell and See

Preparation Time
10 minutes
Activity Time
15 minutes
Choose 3 vegetables from one of the following color categories:
  • Red - Tomatoes, red peppers, radishes, red leaf, lettuce, beets, red potatoes
  • Green - Zucchini, spinach, broccoli, celery, green beans, artichoke, avocado, asparagus, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, snow peas, lettuce, scallions, peas
  • White - Potatoes, jicama, mushrooms, turnips, cauliflower, cucumbers, water chestnuts, alfalfa/bean sprouts
  • Yellow - Corn, rutabaga, summer squash, wax beans
  • Orange - Winter squash, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, orange peppers
  • Purple - Eggplant, purple cabbage, purple peppers
Preparation Prior to Class
1. Wash the produce and line the vegetables up on cutting sheets.
2. Cut open some of the vegetables, such as summer squash or radishes to demonstrate the change and variety within a single food.
3. Cook some vegetables for the children to taste if you wish.
1. Ask the children to wash their hands.
2. Tell the children that they are going to play a game using the foods on the cutting board.
3. Ask them if they can name the vegetables. Many may be unfamiliar to them, which is fine. Tell them the names of the vegetables they don’t recognize.
4. Review with the children how they use their eyes, ears, nose and fingers to learn more about foods.
5. Explain what voting is, and tell them that each of their opinions or votes is very special. You may have them vote either by raising their hands or standing. Ask them to vote, in the manner selected, to say which food they think should win in contests.
6. Ask them to use their fingers, mouths, noses and eyes to touch, taste, smell and see
7. Ask them to rate the foods on the sensory element (i.e. smoothest, crunchiest, best smelling, brightest). Examples include:
  • Which vegetable is smoothest to the touch?
  • Which vegetable makes the loudest sound when they eat it?
  • Which vegetable has the sweetest smell?
  • Which vegetable has the most distinctive smell?
  • Which vegetable is the brightest in color?
8. Cut the winning foods into bite-size pieces and place one piece of each vegetable on a small plate. For sanitation reasons wash the vegetables that were touched, or have enough untouched food on hand to cut for tasting.
9. Distribute one plate and napkin to each child. Allow them to taste the winning vegetables if they wish. Provide additional samples if a child requests more.
10. Ask children to name one new vegetable that they would try again.
Additional Discussion During the Activity
Discuss highlights from the lesson plan:
  • Vegetables are grown on farms and delivered to markets where we can buy them.
  • Some vegetables were locally grown.
  • Vegetables help you grow a healthy body.
  • Vegetables come in many colors. Eating a variety of colorful vegetables is healthy.
  • Vegetables taste great cooked or raw.


Adapted from Tickle Your Appetite.