NDSU Extension - Benson County


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Gardening: The Key to Consuming More Vegetables

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

It may not surprise you that most Americans do not consume enough vegetables, in fact, you may be one of the many that has good intentions of consuming more vegetables, but usually falls sort due to lack of time or perhaps you simply do not have many vegetables on hand.  Research has shown that both adults and children consume more vegetables if they grow the vegetables themselves.


I have taught a variety of Junior Master Gardener Classes over the past few years, and have seen this to be very true.  The same kids that were very uncertain about the things we were planting were very curious to try them once they had watched them grow all summer long. 


Gardens allow for us to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables.  It is recommended to eat different colors and types, because each type of fruit and vegetable has different nutrients. 


If you are gardening with kids, consider a themed garden.  You could have a salsa garden that provides all of the ingredients for fresh salsa, or perhaps a pizza garden that provides many common pizza ingredients.


Growing fruits and vegetables in your garden does not only lead to healthier meals, it also leads to more physical activity.  Adults need 30 minutes of physical activity most days, and children need 60 minutes daily.  Gardening is the perfect time for families to spend time together while getting exercise.  With beautiful weather, and a lot of summer ahead of us, gardening is the perfect way to spend family time.

Here is a recipe for herbed potato salad. A perfect way to use a variety of garden ingredients throughout the year.  Enjoy!


Herbed Potato Salad



  • 6 small red potatoes (quartered)
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing, light
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard, spicy brown
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (chopped, fresh)
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (ground)
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup green onion (sliced)




First, cook the potatoes in boiling water over high heat until tender, for about 10 minutes. Drain well and let cool.  Place potatoes in a medium bowl and set aside.  Next, in a small bowl, combine dressing, mustard, parsley, and seasonings.  Pour mixture over potatoes and toss well.  Carefully stir in bell peppers and green onions.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.


Makes 6 servings.  Each serving contains 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, 22 grams carbohydrates, 350 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber, and 3 grams protein. 

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