Healthy Children - February 2013

 

Encourage Kids to Eat More Fruits & Veggies

Eating fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy diet for both children and adults. Finding creative ways to encourage fruits and vegetables in your child’s diet can be fun for the entire family.

There are more fruits and vegetables available in fresh, frozen, canned, and dried forms than ever before. Taking the time to introduce a variety of fruits and vegetables to kids can help a lifetime of healthy habits.

  • Keep a bowl of fresh fruits on the counter. Refrigerate cut up fruits and vegetables in small bags for easy snacks on the run.
  • Serve fruits and vegetables at every meal. Add grated or cut vegetables into entrees, side dishes, and soups. Top off cereal with fruits or add frozen fruits to smoothies.
  • Set a good example. Snack on fruit and order low-sodium, low-fat salads, soups, or vegetable sides when at restaurants.
  • Pack the refrigerator, freezer and cupboard with pre-cut, frozen and canned vegetables so that it is easier for you to prepare meals and snacks that include vegetables.
  • Challenge family members to reach their daily fruits and vegetables goal. Reward the winner with a prize of his or her choice.
  • Ask that fruits and vegetables be offered at school functions, after school programs, and in vending machines.
  • Let children choose which fruits and vegetables to serve and how to incorporate them into their favorite meals.
  • Make fruits and vegetables fun. Try dressing up sandwiches with faces and smiles made from fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep trying. For some foods, it may take multiple times before a child acquires a taste for it.
  • Encourage friends or relatives to offer vegetables and fruits to your children.
  • Kids are turned off to try new food if the smell, flavor, or color is not appealing to them. It may be more appealing to a child if the fruits or vegetables are served raw.
  • Try feeding different textures of fruits and vegetables to your child. Some children prefer smooth food, whereas others like lumpy, and some children like crispy foods, but others like soft.
  • Offer new fruits and vegetables in combinations with old favorites to show your child a variety of smells, textures, and colors. Various vegetables can be added to any whole grain pasta dish or pizza, and fruit is a great topping for low-fat or fat-free yogurt.