By Kelly Pirie, Public Relations & Digital Strategist
It’s dinnertime and an all-too-typical scene unfolds: broccoli is pushed around the plate, steamed carrots go cold and cauliflower doesn’t stand a chance. Many would suspect kids as the primary culprit of these eating habits, but in most households parents are just as guilty with adults only consuming vegetables 1.6 times daily, falling far below the recommended 5-9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
A call to eat fresh veggies shouldn’t only be recognized on Fresh Veggies Day (June 16) or National Eat Your Veggies Day (June 17) but all year round. Last fall, Hidden Valley launched its #LoveYourVeggies campaign, which brought together chefs, nutritionists and parents to share their tips, recipes, anecdotes, expertise and more, to help families get real about how they eat and start chatting about carrots, yakking about yams and raving about radishes. Creativecontent lives at www.LoveYourVeggies.com.
Developed based on the insight that vegetable consumption in schools is up thanks to nutrition education, the socially shareable content focuses on what works for kids can also work for adults and features:
- Veggie Centric Recipes: Taste is one of the biggest barriers to vegetable consumption, especially since 70 percent of children tested in a study were bitter sensitive, meaning bitter foods such as broccoli and cucumber have a very unpleasant taste to them. Celebrated Chef Bill Telepan created a Roasted Vegetable Salad-on-a-Stick recipe, which features roasted cauliflower, squash, Brussels sprouts and kale with a Hidden Valley vinaigrette.
- Snack Swaps: Nearly one in six adults gets more than forty percent of their daily calories from snacks. Nutrition expert and mom Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, created smart solutions for satisfying sweet and salty cravings – like swapping a plate of greasy nachos smothered in sour cream for a more nutritious alternative, such as vegetables dipped in an easy guacamole made from mashed avocados, lime juice and Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
- Crunched-for-Time Crafts: One of the most stressful times of day is the period between after school and bedtime. Also known as crunch time, it’s a juggling act of determining what’s for dinner, fighting grocery store crowds, helping with homework, cooking, cleaning and getting kids to bed – all while summoning the energy and inspiration for quality family time. Jim Higley, an award-winning author, host of weekly radio podcast, Bobblehead Dad Parenting, and a national advocate for fatherhood and men’s health issues, knows this first hand and encourages combining quality time with veggie time, and contributed his Veggie Turkey Craft Project.
Families were encouraged to share this content and more – or provide veggie tips of their own – on their social channels using the hashtag #LoveYourVeggies. For every #LoveYourVeggies post on Twitter and Instagram, Hidden Valley donated $1, up to $50,000, to the YMCA of the USA to support the organization’s nutrition education programing. “The Y is committed to improving the nation’s health and well-being, and helping the millions of families and children who we serve make the healthy choice the easy choice,” said Dr. Matt Longjohn, National Health Officer at YMCA of the USA. “The Y has the opportunity to educate families and kids about healthy lifestyles and cultivate environments that make it easier for kids to make healthier choices, and our partnership with Hidden Valley allows us to continue to promote vegetables to the entire family unit.”
Since 2007, Hidden Valley has donated more than one million dollars to nutrition education programs in schools and communities nationwide. The brand has also provided nutrition-focused grants to more than 80 elementary schools and community programs to help kids love and eat their vegetables.
Hidden Valley is committed to tackling the veggie crisis in America head-on. Nearly three-quarters of Americans are eating vegetables fewer than three times daily. Hidden Valley wants to not only educate people about ways to love their veggies, but also get them excited to do so. The YMCA of the USA was the best partner with which to get this message out and help inspire change with socially-connected and busy families.
 CDC State Indicator Report on Fruits Vegetables, 2013
 “Offering “Dip” Promotes Intake of a Moderately-Liked Vegetable among Preschoolers with Genetic Sensitivity to Bitterness,” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Article in Press, Online November 24, 2011.
 Snacking Patterns of U.S. Adults: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2007-2008. Food Surveys Research Group Dietary Data Brief No. 4. June 2011.
 Telephone survey of 500 American moms nationwide with children 17 or younger in the household utilizing landline and cell phone exchanges; fielded September 11-13, 2013; conducted by KRC Research for Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Dressings & Dips.