Being a stay at home dad I am constantly working on trying to do what is best for my kids.  I want them to be safe, happy, and healthy and it is primarily my job to make sure those things happen.

Fortunately for me, my kids actually love veggies. When my wife was pregnant, she would have unusual cravings but she focused on fruits and veggies more than anything to snack on. It’s a great habit to have when it comes to snacking as increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables over other snacks are always going to be healthier.

I even like vegetables. Yes, even brussel sprouts and you don’t have to sneak them onto plate to get me to eat them!  The way I make them would turn you on to brussel sprouts, I almost guarantee it.  The fact is, most men, ages 19-51+ need at least 3 cups of veggies per day. I know for me, that doesn’t always happen.

In fact, an article called Toddlers Beat Dads in Produce Consumption, Nicole Stevens of  WhatToExpect.com writes about a study that was conducted in Britain.

According to the Daily Mail, a recent survey revealed that British toddlers eat an average of 12 different types of vegetables and fruits weekly. Men managed about six types weekly, and only consumed 1.2 portions of produce daily.

That’s pitiful, but mostly because I think we are so fixated on trying to get our kids to eat healthy that we forget that we need to set the example and not just enforce it.  A friend of mine who is a nutritionist told me that sometimes how you arrange your refrigerator can affect the way you snack. Instead of putting the vegetables in the crisper, put them on the top shelf so it is the first thing you see.

The great thing about this is that the crisper then becomes free for other things.

Prepare produce for snacking and store them in Ziploc bags. Place healthier snacks also at eye level for the children in your household. What they see in the fridge over and over may draw them to eat what they see.

Stevens goes on to say that in the States, our situation is much worse.  The main issue being that kids think they are getting their nutrition from juice drinks and french fries instead of focusing more on dark green and orange vegetables, which are higher in nutrition.

You may be thinking, So what? That is Britain, and this is America. Well, the lagging produce consumption is similar over here. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)estimates that only about 20 percent of American men and 30 percent of women eat three or more servings of veggies daily.

Just today, I went for my yearly physical. My doctor said I am not eating enough fruits and vegetables. If my kids aren’t seeing me do it then where are they going to learn these healthy habits?

With obesity on the rise in this country and more and more dads staying at home we need to pass on to our children to Strive for Five is not just a slogan they should follow.   Be a part of a CSA in your area, plant a garden with your kids, and model good eating habits by putting down the chips and picking up the carrots. How do you get your kids to eat healthier?