Expand your vegetable repertoire by picking up unique varieties at the farmers market and experimenting with them at home. Veggies such as kohlrabi are great for slaws and salads while mizuna can be cooked into stews and stir-fries.
A small study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that 64% of preschoolers said they liked a vegetable when it was served with a low-fat dip, while only 31% of participants said they liked the vegetable by itself. Researchers also found that pairing celery or squash with a flavored dip resulted in greater intake among children, compared with the vegetables eaten alone.
School-nutrition professionals in Madison, Wis., are working to improve the nutrition of meals despite outdated facilities and other challenges. An important step, officials say, is a donation that allowed schools to install salad bars. District foodservices director Steve Youngbauer said students are more likely to find vegetables they like to eat when they are given the selection offered in a salad bar.
Chefs and restaurants will get more creative with salads and vegetable dishes next year as more consumers discover the benefits of going meatless at more meals, Technomic predicts in its trend list for 2013. Chicken and a wider selection of grains are also likely to show up on more menus next year, the report says, along with smaller dishes that feed our growing hunger for snacks.
Organic food doesn't come cheap, so budget-minded consumers are having to pick and choose which fruit and vegetables to spend their money on. Experts say it's worth springing for soft, fleshy items such as apples and peppers, which tend to absorb high levels of pesticides, but that it's fine to go conventional for thick-skinned fruit and vegetables such as bananas and avocados.