The fifth commandment, found in Exodus 20:12, states, “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land”—but how many of us would have been in trouble as kids if that honoring extended to parental advice about eating our veggies?
Parents typically teach their children how to be safe and healthy, including the importance of eating right. What food savvy parents know is that fruit and vegetable colors are determined by which plant nutrients (called phytonutrients) they contain, and it’s those
that fight against many life-altering and life-threatening diseases. So maybe your mother’s rainbow of veggies on your childhood dinner plate makes a little more sense now!
Here are Family Home Evening activities that encourage more interest in these life-extending foods our Heavenly Father has created for us.
- Food Trivia Game: Label one basket “fruit” and another “vegetables.” Have family members take turns placing pictures (or the real things!) of various fruits and veggies into the correct baskets. Since people often mistake some fruits for vegetables, play the game before and after reading the following quote from Mr. Victor Jimenez of the University of Arizona’s Agricultural Center in Maricopa. He offers an easy way to tell the difference:
“Vegetables are roots, stems, leaves and flowers of plants. Fruits are the fleshy parts that contain seeds.”
Broccoli and asparagus are examples of vegetables with both stems and flowers. Zucchini and bell peppers? Think about what they must be! (Though corn is often thought of as a vegetable… sorry, it’s a grain.)
- Create Edible Structures such as “Veggie Vehicles,” “Fruity Figures” or “Tasty Towers.” Combine fruits and vegetables for “Vruity Avengers” or “Munchable Monsters.”
Prepare pieces to be used for building, perhaps in unusual ways:
- Use small cookie cutters to form cucumber slices into fun shapes or cut out their seeds with a melon baller.
- Slice rectangular cubes of apples for building blocks.
- After peeling off the top layer of a carrot, continue to peel it and keep those peels.
- Offer a lettuce leaf for a tiny cape.
As a family, combine pieces to form structures, using toothpicks as needed. Help and supervise young children.
Add one of the following dip/spread choices below to an edible dipping bowl, such as a section of celery or apple. These can also be used to help items stick together:
- Veggie or fruit dip
- Salad dressing
- Peanut butter
- Cream cheese
- Chocolate/hazelnut spread
- Honey or agave
- Morsels of cheese
- Marshmallows, chocolate chips or other small sweets (to eat after tasting healthy items)
With frequent tasting opportunities, children often grow to like things they initially did not.