Eat your vegetables. Five plus a day. Get your greens. Don’t you want to grow up big and strong? Yes, yes, yes, of course I do! But are veggies really as crucial as they are made to seem. Why do adults make me think that eating my vegetables will give me superpowers? Are carrots really going to give me night-vision? I doubt it! But at the end of the day, the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables loaded with colour somehow give kids a protective armour (and even adults too). Maybe we should think of them as superpowers. The bright and vibrant colours found in veggies and fruits offer kids impressive health advantages, so beneficial they end up having effects similar to superpowers…
Let’s start at the beginning. Fruit and vegetables are some of the first foods we eat when we are really little, even if they are blended up into some sort of mash. When we get used to trying different fruits and vegetables, we become more adventurous about trying a variety of new and nutritious tastes and textures. Being adventurous is definitely a superhero quality. Eating plenty of green vegetables (kale, cabbage and broccoli, for example) helps kids build strong bodies from head to toe. That means strong bones, teeth and nails—all important for leaping between tall buildings in a high-speed chase.
Including orange foods in our daily diet provides loads of vitamin C, an important defence against infection. Fruits like oranges or cantaloupes can arm us with protection against the germs we encounter at every turn. Protection against enemies… sounds pretty impressive! Beyond this, blue and purple foods can help enhance kids’ memories. Foods like blueberries and eggplant can help boost school performance, maybe to NCEA Excellence endorsements… and beyond! Foods packed with vitamin A and beta carotene help kids see better, even in the dark. So maybe carrots will actually give me night-vision!
Just like a suit of armour, eating fruits and vegetables offers powerful protection. Yellow foods, like pineapples, are full of antioxidants that fight cell-damaging molecules. Some fruits contain a chemical that protects against heart disease and cancer. And let’s not forget white foods, like bananas, that help keep our heart and lungs strong and healthy. Time to fight off those enemies.
Look, I know it sounds corny and maybe those superpowers don’t seem as impressive as moving things with your mind or running at 100 miles per hour. But really, how many times have you heard the phrase “eat your vegetables,” how many times have adults tried to convince you to want to eat fruit and veggies? They may not think it will turn you into a superhero, but they do know it will make you super. The importance of healthy eating is HUGE. Nothing is better for your body than fuelling it correctly, and there is nothing like vegetables for doing this. So please, be a superhero, be a normal kid, be a healthy kid, be a super kid – just please, be a vegetable-eating-kid!
- What does the importance of healthy eating mean to you?
- Do you think that vegetables are the most important food to eat, or is there something you think you should be eating more?
- What are some risks you can incur if you do not eat any vegetables… ever?
Practical Thinking Questions:
- What is a way you can eat a big amount of vegetables and not get sick of them?
- Write down the vegetables you ate each day for an entire week. At the end of the week try and figure out if you need to be eating more.
- Think about your least favourite vegetables. What is a way you can cook/eat these that you will enjoy?