We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is important. But how do you get kids to eat more of these foods? The following tips might help.
What You Can Do
- Use fruits and vegetables as snacks.
- Serve salads more often. Teach your child what an appropriate amount of salad dressing is and how it can be ordered on the side at restaurants.
- Try out child-friendly vegetarian recipes for spaghetti, lasagna, chili, or other foods using vegetables instead of meat.
- Include one green leafy or yellow vegetable for vitamin A such as spinach, broccoli, winter squash, greens, or carrots.
- Include one vitamin C–rich fruit, vegetable, or juice, such as citrus juices, orange, grapefruit, strawberries, melon, tomato, and broccoli.
- Include a fruit or vegetable as part of every meal or snack. For example, you could put fruit on cereal, add a piece of fruit or small salad to your child’s lunch, use vegetables and dip for an after-school snack, or add a vegetable or two you want to try to the family’s dinner.
- Be a role model—eat more fruits and vegetables yourself.
How Much is Enough?
Be sure your child is getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day.
What You Can Do
- Visit MyPlate to find out how much of each food group your child should be getting.
- When shopping for food, start in the area of the store where they keep fresh fruits and vegetables. Stock up. That way you know you always have some on hand to serve your child.
- Avoid buying high-calorie foods such as chips, cookies, and candy bars. Your child may not ask for these treats if they are not in sight.
- Limit or eliminate how much fruit juice you give your child and make sure it is 100% juice, not juice “drinks.”
- Eat as a family whenever possible. Research shows that kids eat more vegetables and fruits and less fried foods and sugary drinks when they eat with the entire family.
By choosing health-promoting foods, you can establish good nutritional habits in your child that will last for the rest of his or her life.