How Could Vegetables Be the New “It” Food and Still Be Largely Ignored?

The big trend in food:  vegetables.

Yes, vegetables are the new meat, declares New York Magazine.

At serious restaurants all over town, carrots, peas, and the like are no longer just the supporting cast—they’re the stars. Move over locavores, here come the vegivores…a term that connotes fervid vegetable love rather than ardent meat hate. It’s a subtle but important distinction.  For the vegivore, a vegetable can occupy the center of the plate, with meat adding flavor or functioning as a condiment.

The cover of November’s Food & Wine exclaims “Vegetables: the next big trend.”  Vegetables are featured in the magazine’s Trendspotting column that highlights the growing number of vegetable-centric restaurants, including upscale eateries that have embraced Meatless Mondays such as Dovetail in New York City and Nage Bistro in Washington, DC.

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La Tartine Gourmande on flickr.com

Famed chef Mario Batali has been a major champion of Meatless Monday and a visible vegetable supporter.   He introduced the world to a “vegetable butcher” at his Italian mega-market Eataly and has plans to write a vegetarian cookbook.

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Eataly in NYC by Sam 86 on flickr.com

Certainly the vegetable movement got a major boost with the groundbreaking of the White House garden.  Now we’ve seen the Iron Chef’s  first vegetarian competition and Sotheby’s held its first heirloom-vegetable auction.

Indeed, vegetables have become devotional objects.  But why do so many people not eat them…or certainly not enough of them.

CARROT STILL LIFE

Sidious sid on flickr.com

Just this week a new report released by the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance reveals how bad the situation really is.  Only 6% of individuals in this country meet daily recommendations  for vegetables.  Teenage and adult vegetable consumption even went down over the past 5 years.  The report gives both groups a grade of F.  Children under age 6 aren’t doing much better.  Vegetable consumption grew 3%; yet despite this small increase, 92% of children fail to eat enough vegetables.

Yes, that’s alarming.  It’s even more alarming when you think about the health implications of a veggie-poor diet.  The new report estimates that the economic cost of not eating vegetables is about $56 million — attributed to the health care cost of treating diet-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Maybe making vegetables trendy will help adults eat more. But what’s the solution for raising veggie-loving kids?  How do we get a new generation excited about vegetables?

I think one way NOT to do it is to hide or sneak them in.

What are your tips for helping your kids like their veggies?  I’ll do a follow-up post featuring your advice.


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