When Lisa Simpson persuades her family to eat an all-vegetable meal, everyone except Lisa gets sick. Bart’s reaction? “From now on, I’m only eating food that I know had a soul!” Cartoon Bart thinks he’s funny, but in the real world, it’s important, for body and soul, for kids to eat more vegetables.

A third of North American children are overweight or obese by age 9! Eating a healthy amount of vegetables daily is an effective weapon in the fight against obesity and premature health problems, like elevated LDL (lousy) cholesterol, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, 93 percent don’t get the daily recommended amount.

Well, we might learn a trick or two from the French, where the rate of obesity is one of the lowest in the developed world. (France was ranked No. 128 by World Health Organization; America is No. 9; Mexico No. 19 and Canada No. 35.) Seems when French moms wean children from breast to bottle, they introduce produce to their kids by adding vegetable puree to milk. New North American moms, you may want to make that part of your game plan. But if you’ve missed that window, it’s not too late to increase kids’ veggie intake.

Step 1: Eat YOUR veggies, and eventually your kids may be curious enough to try them.

Step 2: Get kids cooking those green beans and baked apples! They love to taste the results of their hard work.

Step 3: Even for older kids, sneak pureed veggies into spaghetti sauces, stews and soups. C’est magnifique!

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.