This week, USA Pears attended the School Nutrition Association (SNA) Annual Nutrition Conference in Kansas City. Many of the sessions were geared toward helping school lunch professionals increase fruit and vegetable consumption, while limiting sodium, fat, and excess calories. Although this seems simple, sometimes children are picky and sometimes they are simply more familiar with the taste of processed foods. What nutrition experts have discovered is that if children play with their food, that is to say that if they help in the preparation and explore the different colors, textures, and flavors of different fruits and veggies, they’re more likely to eat them now and throughout their lives.
Here’s a simple suggestion: slice fruit and veggies into smaller pieces and let kids add fun toppings. At SNA we showcased a pear “salad” bar – sliced pears with a variety of toppings, including yogurt, granola, cheese, nut butters, dried fruit, and sunflower seeds. The bar was a hit with the participants, many of whom plan to include this idea in their school districts. Just imagine how many more fruits and veggies kids will eat when eating healthfully becomes fun and flavorful!