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The simple trick that will help your children eat their fruits and veggies
New research suggests that children who grow their own veggies will eat more vegetables. Here's how parents can help their child do just that. - photo by Herb Scribner
If you want your children to eat more fruits and vegetables, try this simple solution based on recent research: get them to grow their own produce.

A new study from Cornell University found that children are more likely to eat salads and vegetables for lunch when they grow their own produce. In fact, the percentage of students who ate salad for lunch went from 2 to 10 percent when the salad included veggies that the child grew themselves. Those students ate two-thirds of their salads on average, according to the study.

Youngsters were also four times more likely to get a salad for lunch when the vegetables came directly from a garden, according to the study.

To find this, researchers measured the food selections of 370 students over a three-day period in which the researchers switched the style of vegetable they included with the meals from school-grown to student-grown.

"This is a small study, but it suggests gardens can help children's diets," the studys lead author, Brian Wansink from Cornell University, said in a press release.

This finding isn't exactly new, though. Back in 2007, Saint Louis University found that preschool children from rural areas are more likely to eat their fruits and veggies when the produce comes from their own garden.

In fact, children who were served home-grown greens were more than twice as likely to eat five servings a day than those who rarely or never ate homegrown produce, according to Science Daily. Those children also preferred the taste of fruits and vegetables over other foods, according to Science Daily.

The SLU study found that vegetables, especially home-grown and school-grown ones, create a positive eating environment, which makes children more interested in eating healthy food and helps them have a healthier diet.

"When children are involved with growing and cooking food, it improves their diet," the studys author Debra Haire-Joshu said, according to Science Daily. "Students at schools with gardens learn about math and science and they also eat more fruits and vegetables. Kids eat healthier and they know more about eating healthy. It's a winning and low-cost strategy to improve the nutrition of our children at a time when the pediatric obesity is an epidemic problem."

But sometimes it can be a struggle to choose which vegetables to grow, especially if a child has already denounced some because of their taste.

Luckily, Pop Chart Lab has two posters that outline all the world's known fruits and veggies, which can help you and your child see what greens you may be missing out on and which new ones you can try.

The first poster, also available for $38 from Pop Chart Lab, is just about vegetables. The poster shows the different varieties of veggies by type like nuts, peppers and types of lettuce.

The poster also breaks down the veggies by cooking greens and salad greens, which can help families put together healthy meals for dinner.

The second poster, pictured below and available for $38 from Pop Chart Lab, is a breakdown of fruits. The chart separates fruits by their descent like if theyre native fruits of Asia, Africa or America and then by type, like if theyre a citrus fruit, a berry or a melon.

But no matter what veggies and fruits you choose, implementing them into your family's diet may be the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

"'Eat your fruits and vegetables' is one of the tried and true recommendations for a healthy diet. And for good reason," the Harvard School of Public Health noted. "Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits can help you ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure, prevent some types of cancer, avoid a painful intestinal ailment called diverticulitis and guard against cataract and macular degeneration, two common causes of vision loss."
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