One of the single best things you can do for your child aged 2-5 years is educate, interact, taste and talk about all different kinds of vegetables and plant foods. The aim is to develop an interest and love of eating and trying different plant foods in order to make a habit that will set your child up for a lifetime of happy gut microbiota.

As most of you know, very few Australian adults eat the recommended number of vegetables each day. According to the heart foundation, it is less than 10 %. It is not just about the amount; it is weekly diversity of plant food intake that creates a happy gut.  The largest published study ever, the American Gut Study, the largest published study to date of the human microbiome, found people that eat more than 30 different types of plant foods each week including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds had a much greater diversity of microbiome than those eating 10 or fewer different plant foods a week. We also know that diversity of microbiome is what is important and how we define a healthy gut. We all want a healthy gut as it is linked to higher energy levels and lower risk of immune issues, mood and anxiety disorders, and some cancers and chronic illness. 

So, if we crystal ball gaze into our child’s future. the only way this is going to happen is if they develop a love of vegetables at a young age. Most people continue their childhood eating habits into adulthood, they don’t just wake up one day and start loving vegetables and plant food.  This habit needs to start in childhood.

Way you can do this are: –

*create or buy vegetable bingo game

*use flash cards to name and spell vegetables

*print off blank vegetable templates for colouring in

*take your child shopping and challenge them to find a certain vegetable

*touch, feel and smell vegetables and talk about colours and flavours

*ask your child to choose a different vegetable to try each week

*put out many different coloured vegetables to try and role model eating these

*let your child grow some seeds in the garden eg: carrot seeds

Attached is a template from Dietician Connection to help you identify healthy plant foods to try. Note some are wholegrains not just vegetables.


So do your kids a favour and talk plants…


Edwina Ekins is a qualified practicing clinical Nutritionist, with a focus on teen athletes & 40-60 years female athletes – weekend walkers to competing Masters athletes in every sport. Edwina has been practicing for over 8 years with a clinic in Frenchs Forest, Sydney & has a genuine passion for nutrition & helping people reach their optimal performance.