It’s official: vegetables are the food rock stars of 2011. So announced George Ball (okay, in so many words) in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal Monday, where he discussed the role of vegetables in helping curb childhood obesity. Of course, as chairman of the W. Atlee Burpee Company and former president of the American Horticultural Society, he may be just the teensiest, weensiest bit biased towards veggies, but hey—so am I.
Early in his editorial, Ball lists many of the causes of America’s childhood obesity epidemic, including “…vanishing physical-education classes, fried everything, supersized portions, sedentary hours spent zoned out in front of the computer screen…”
Hmm. Moving on.
He then goes on to propose the solution to childhood obesity: “[Imbuing] our children with the love of—and consumption of—the most beneficial food for growing bodies…fresh vegetables and fruits, whether store bought or home-grown.”
Now I’m not sure how eating more fruits and vegetables is going to bring back phys ed classes, but it sure can’t hurt and will probably help both kids—and adults—be healthier. The only catch is that it’s awfully hard to encourage kids to eat veggies when we adults aren’t eating them ourselves. Indeed, Ball cites a recent CDC report showing that only about a quarter of adults eat three or more servings of veggies a day. A puny, piddling 26% of us!
I’d love to say that you people should really get your act together, but—authoring a veggie blog notwithstanding—I still don’t eat three servings of vegetables every day. (Sad, right? In my defense, I eat am eating more than I used to. And on cooking days—I swear—I easily eat half a pound of veggies at a go.)
While Ball promotes gardening as a way to encourage American families to eat more vegetables, I say no matter how they make their way into our refrigerators, we Americans will eat more vegetables if they actually taste good.
So I propose a call to action: let’s make veggies not just edible, but delectable. Let’s transform them into the flavor equals—nay, superiors—of cheesecake and chocolate and fried chicken. (A girl can dream, can’t she?)
Surely it can be done. After all, it’s a new year; a new era of veggie awesomeness.
To kick off the year of the vegetable, then, tomorrow I’ll offer you a hearty dollop of good luck: black-eyed peas and
hominy homonyms. Check back soon!
Want to actually enjoy your vegetables? Subscribe to Veggie Quest and never miss a recipe! (WFPB, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Eat-to-Live friendly.)