How often do you eat fruits and vegetables? A recent report showed many Kentucky children ages 1 through 5 years old do not eat at least one fruit or vegetable each day. There are many reasons why children or other family members do not eat fruit or vegetables daily. They might not have transportation to food stores that sell fruit and vegetables. The price of fresh produce might be too high for a family’s budget for food. Children might not be comfortable with eating or like the taste of fruit and vegetables.
No matter the reason, there is help available. Your local health department can give you information about the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. WIC provides nutritious foods as well as nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support, education, and referrals to healthcare services for pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5. Anyone can complete applications for the Kentucky Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) online, over the phone, or in person at the local Department for Community-Based Services. SNAP increases a person’s food-buying power. Local farmers’ markets and other retail stores often take part in the Kentucky Double Dollars program. This program gives vouchers or tokens to buy more Kentucky-grown products. Reach out to your local Extension office for support in connecting with any of these programs.
Making food fun is a way to encourage children to try new foods, especially fruit and vegetables. We invite your family to join our Eating Over the Rainbow challenge to eat at least one fruit and vegetable each day, for one week. Signing up with your local Extension office will get you looped into activities to do with children and tips for encouraging children to give fruit and vegetables a chance. We hope you’ll join us in taking action to help children try at least one fruit and vegetable each day so they can explore, grow strong, learn, and play!
Hamner, H.C., Dooyema, C.A., Blanck, H.M., et al. Fruit, vegetable, and sugar-sweetened beverage intake among young children, by state – United States 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2023;72:165-170. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10/15585/mmwr.mm7207a1
Source: Courtney Luecking, Extension Specialist for Nutrition and Health