We all know that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is important at any age, but especially for growing kids. Unfortunately, some kids are not always so keen on getting their five a day, and it can be tough to persuade them to try new options. Here are some top tips to get your children to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Tips For Parents
- Provide fruits and vegetables as snacks. Keep fruit washed, cut up, and in plain sight in the refrigerator to make it easy to grab and tempting to eat.
- Serve salads more often. Get prewashed, bagged salad at the grocery store. Teach your child what an appropriate amount of salad dressing is and how it can be ordered on the side at restaurants.
- Try out some more vegetarian recipes at home for popular dishes like spaghetti, lasagna, chili, or other options that use veggies instead of meat.
- Include at least one leafy green or yellow vegetable for vitamin A, such as spinach, winter squash, greens, carrots, or broccoli, every day.
- Include at least one vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable into meals or snacks every day, such as oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, melon, tomato, and broccoli every day.
- Add a fruit or vegetable as part of every meal or snack. For example, you could put fruit on cereal, make green smoothies, add a piece of fruit or a small salad to your child’s lunch, use vegetables and dip in for an after-school snack, or add a vegetable or two you want to try to your evening meal.
- Be a role model. Eat more fruits and vegetables yourself.
More Things You Can Try
- Make sure that your child is getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day. You can find useful information online on how much of each food group your child should be getting, and use this information to plan meals and snacks for the family.
- When you shop for food, start in the part of the store where they keep the fresh fruits and vegetables to avoid temptation elsewhere in the store. Stock up. This way you know will always have some on hand ready to serve to your child.
- Try to avoid buying high-calorie snacks such as chips, cookies, and candy bars. Your child might not ask you for these treats if they can’t see them in the house. If you do have them, keep them out of sight and out of reach.
- Limit or completely cut out how much fruit juice you give your child. If you do give them fruit juice, make sure it is 100% juice, and not a ‘juice drink’, which often contains little real fruit and a lot of sugar.
- Eat as a family whenever you can. Research shows that children will eat more fruits and vegetables and less fried foods and sugary drinks when they eat with the entire family.
Remember, by choosing healthy foods, you can set up good nutritional habits in your child that will last for the rest of their life.