Although those low numbers across the board are still cause for concern, the increases seen are promising.
"In our culture today, some children are not exposed to a healthy diet by their parents or their peers," says Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D. and president/CEO of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, a nonprofit entity that has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control on the "Fruits & Veggies - More Matters" national public health initiative.
"When children see that others typically select and place vegetables in those compartments, as suggested by the photos, they are more likely to consider it, too."
Ah, the power of suggestion. I just may have to try this at home!
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Speaking of healthy eating, one way to do your body a favor is by substituting lower calorie, fat, carb or sodium ingredients for their higher-consequence counterparts. Just be forewarned that some substitutions work out far better than others.
A veggie burger, turkey chili or an Egg Beater omelet can be quite good. Fat-free cheesecake or sugar-free brownies often taste about as good as they sound - not very good.
But here's a healthy swap that sings - yogurt-based salad dressings.
I recently sampled an entire line of said dressings from Bolthouse Farms and was pleasantly surprised with the results. They had the filling taste and tang of their cream-based brethren, but a fraction of the calories - only 35 to 45 per serving - and 75 percent less fat.
Yogurt-based flavors featured were Chunky Blue Cheese, Salsa Ranch and Zesty French, and a line of olive oil-based vinaigrettes included Asian Ginger, Classic Balsamic and Raspberry Merlot. All would work nicely on a salad or as a healthier alternative to heavier sauces and dips.
Bolthouse products are carried at local Kroger and Wal-Mart stores, or you can check them out online at www.bolthouse.com.
Contact writer Steven Keith at dailymailfood...@aol.com or 304-348-1721. You can also follow him on Facebook and Pinterest as "DailyMail FoodGuy," on Twitter as "DMFoodGuy" or read his blog at http://blogs.dailymail.com/foodguy/.