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Are you Smarter than a First Grader about Fruits and Veggies?

I was listening to the radio recently when I heard a breakthrough news flash.  It was so earth shattering, I almost had to stop to reset my breathing.

The radio announcer reported that “new research” is out there that implies that fruits and vegetables are healthy for you and can help prevent disease.

Furthermore, if you can manage eating 10 servings a day, you would be healthier yet!

Fruits and vegetables healthy?  Did you know that?

Every heard of 5 A Day (Gives Us Power to Play?)  (That’s the campaign that was out about 20 years ago.)  What about the recommendation of 10 servings a day? (That came out a few years later.)

Did you know eating more fruits and veggies reduces risk of cancer?

If you knew these things, you are not smarter than a 1st grader.  You are equally smart as a 1st grader.  To be smarter, you would have to be able to identify and spell “anthocyanin” – the blue pigment in blueberries, plums, etc.

If anyone wasted our tax dollars to give us “new research” that has teaches us that fruits and vegetables are healthy, they ought to stand in front of a tomato firing squad!  This is basic common sense if not brainwashing by our parents and teachers.  We know this.

Yet, herein lies the problem.  Does knowledge about the benefits of fruits and vegetables get more people to eat them?  I’m convinced it helps to backfire on them.  When we had campaigns promoting 10 servings a day, we learned that people weren’t even yet up to 5, so suggesting 10 to them made many people quit altogether.

Plus when you think about 10 servings of fruits and vegetables, could you do it?  Could you eat 5 cups of Brussels sprouts?  Now that’s not how the recommendation intended you to meet 10, but this is what many people envision in their minds.

Many years ago other research by Laurel Birch showed that children were more likely to eat vegetables if no one said a word about it.  The same studies showed that both encouragement and praise sabotaged efforts to get children to eat veggies.  Forcing them to eat veggies before they can leave the table teaches them to really hate green beans (or how to hide them inside a shirt sleeve.)  Either way no one wins these food battles.  And some coercion tactics border on child abuse.

When children can self-regulate, rather than be coerced or pushed to eat veggies, they have ownership and the right to explore a variety of tastes and textures.

Stop working so hard at trying to convince children to eat more fruits and veggies because they are healthy.  The better approach is to simply have them available at meals and snacks.  Put out a bowl of baby carrots or grapes on the kitchen table. Serve up tender-crisp broccoli with a touch of grated cheese at dinner time.  Throw cut up veggies in their scrambled eggs. Peel a juicy Cara Cara orange for bedtime snack.

Buy fruits and veggies, serve fruits and veggies.  No need to talk about it, just do it.

Is mealtime less than fun at your house?  Snack time a nightmare? Do you hear “yuk” at the dinner table and have trouble getting anyone to sit still for 20 minutes?  It’s time to take control of your family’s eating routine, and it starts with you. Parents who have worked with My Coach Bev have achieved harmony at the dinner table.  For more information, or to start working with Bev, please email  Let’s get started!




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Thanks, Norman

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