At a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Annise Parker joined Recipe 4 Success founder Gracie Cavnar to announce the second annual VegOut! 30-Day Challenge. Participants in the program sign up online and pledge to eat 30 different vegetables over 30 days.
"Veggies are tasty. Veggies are healthy, and having a little competition around eating your veggies is fun," Parker said. "There are lots of places we can find appropriate fresh fruits and vegetables." The mayor cited the weekly Wednesday farmers market at City Hall as one place and proudly displayed a bag of Brussels sprouts she purchased there.
"Veggies are tasty. Veggies are healthy, and having a little competition around eating your veggies is fun," Parker said.
In addition to the market, local grocery stores H-E-B and Whole Foods will be running vegetable promotions. Restaurants such as Kiran's, Haven and Ouisie's Table will all serve special vegetable dishes, with Kiran's stepping up to serve a different dish every day.
Recipe 4 Success aims to teach children healthy eating habits, and the VegOut! Challenge furthers that goal. Programs such as R4S helped contribute to the news that childhood obesity is down, but Parker says there's still more to do.
"Unfortunately, there are children who think that veggies come from stores, and that meat comes wrapped in cellophane," noted Parker. "We have to reconnect our kids to where things we eat actually originate, and in making healthy, and healthful choices about what they eat. Like anything else it’s a matter of familiarity. Having not just access but having the knowledge of what to do with fresh fruits and vegetables is equally important."
Last year, 5,000 Houstonians signed up for the challenge and ate 50,000 pounds of vegetables. This year, Recipe 4 Success hopes to find 50,000 people who will consume a total of 1 million pounds of vegetables.
"With everyone’s help, we’re going to get the entire city to eat their veggies and show the rest of America how things are done down here in Houston," said Cavnar.