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Making Fruits and Veggies Appealing
Creative Parents Interview with David Goldbeck

At CreativeParents we’ve long suspected that fruits and veggies would be appealing to kids if only they were presented the same way as sugar cereals – say, with jingles and funny characters. We were delighted to discover the new ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond, a book by Steve Charney and David Goldbeck.

David Goldbeck and his wife Nikki Goldbeck, are co-authors of 9 books about food, Their website is
We asked David why the new book fills an important niche.
What makes your children’s book on healthy eating especially timely?

David Goldbeck:
It is no secret that there is an epidemic of nutrition-related illnesses ranging from obesity and diabetes to cancer and heart disease. Nikki and I have been trying for more than 30 years to help families improve their diets. I decided that it might make sense to start with children by helping them develop good habits before it was too late. This is the genesis of The ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond.
Why did you focus specifically on fruits and veggies?

David Goldbeck:
Fruits and vegetables are the backbone of a good diet, but according to surveys, sadly lacking in many children’s food repertoire.

The ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond promotes healthy eating by encouraging kids to eat better willingly. We want children to develop a broad, easy-going relationship with food. With all the talk about the alarming increase in obesity in the U.S., and the key role fruits and vegetables play in long-term health, the need to inspire children to eat better is more pressing then ever.
There are other books about healthy eating for kids, and cookbooks for parents that suggest disguising veggies in other foods. What makes this one different?

David Goldbeck:
If you want kids to learn things without resistance – languages for example - start them young and make the message relevant and appealing. The same goes for eating habits. If parents want kids to have a positive attitude towards fruits and vegetables, it's time for a new approach. Certainly the “eat your vegetables, they’re good for you” scolding hasn’t worked.

What will work is introducing these foods early in life and in new contexts, creating a kid-friendly view of vegetables and fruits as delicious and interesting.
How have you gone about making fruits and veggies appealing?

David Goldbeck:
Steve Charney’s clever and zany alphabet poems set the tone. I fantasize about toddlers being fed while they (and their parents) recite: C is for the carrots/That rabbits like to munch. They eat them 'cause they love the taste – Me…I like the crunch.

Why is there the "...And Beyond” in the book?

David Goldbeck:
The second part of the book, which I was responsible for, takes kids to a mixture of food lore, recipes, jokes, tongue twisters, unusual facts, shopping tips, recipes, and other fun- and thought-provoking activities.

Children also discover where many fruits and vegetables come from, learn some Spanish words, and are directed to related books and websites. The goal is for them to translate their new knowledge into willful eating. For instance, "Z is for zucchini/A word to flabbergast/Zucchini with linguini"-- try to say that ten times fast!
Why do you think there aren’t more efforts made to educate kids about nutrition?

David Goldbeck:
Actually there are many efforts made to teach kids about nutrition. However, focusing on long term health doesn't tend to work since kids generally don’t have a long term view.
What about competition to fruits and veggies from the unhealthy or questionably-nutritious foods that are heavily promoted?

David Goldbeck:
The marketing of food to kids is largely via advertising by large food companies. Their interest is to sell their products, which are generally processed, premade foods. There is a lot more profit in Cheerios than oatmeal, fruit roll-ups than fresh fruit, potato chips and frozen French fries than fresh potatoes.


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