How many vegetables do children need in a day? USDA has set the goal for children ages 4 to 8 years old to eat one and a half cups of vegetables every day.
USDA goes one step further to say that every week children should be eating a variety of vegetables. That includes:
- 1 cup of dark greens, like spinach and kale;
- 1/2 cup dry beans and peas, like baked beans and refried beans;
- 3-1/2 cups of starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes;
- 3 cups of red and orange like tomatoes, carrots and winter squash; and
- 2-1/2 cups of other vegetables like green beans and beets.
How can we begin to introduce vegetables? First, take your child or grandchild to the farmer's market or road side stand. Let them pick out a vegetable for dinner, lunch or even breakfast. Next, invite them to help make the vegetable recipe. Even at an early age, children can learn how to help prepare it by scrubbing a carrot under water, or by slicing cucumbers and mushrooms with a plastic knife.
Here is a healthy vegetable recipe that kids can help with. This fits in the "other" vegetable group.
2 medium zucchini
- 1/2 pound lean ground beef or 1 -15oz can of beans
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup instant rice or prepare leftover rice
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 3 and ¾ cup tomato sauce
- Shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
- Spray 9 x 13 baking pan with non-fat cooking spray.
- Slice zucchini lengthwise and remove the pulp.
- Place zucchini, cut side up in pan.
- Mix together the ground beef, egg, bread crumb, rice and tomato sauce.
- Put 1/4 of filling mixture into each zucchini and pour remaining sauce over top.
- Bake in 350°F oven for 40 minutes. During the last 10 minutes, remove from oven and top with cheese. Continue baking.
- Optional: instead of meat, use one 15 oz. can of rinsed pinto or black beans. Mash slightly before adding to other ingredients.
1 cup 133 calories, 10g Protein, 12g Carbohydrate, 4g Fat, 24mg Cholesterol, 1.1g Fiber, 46mcg Folate, 1.8mg Iron, 196mg Sodium, 27mg Calcium