We all should be eating at least five fruits and vegetables a day. But it may be challenging to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables. One of my daughters had to be coaxed to eat grapes, she didn’t like feel of biting into them. Another daughter, didn’t like tomatoes, they were to be avoided at all costs. She would eat spaghetti sauce but not with chunks of tomato. Every kid has likes and dislikes. A good tip sheet from CDC is Encourage Kids to Eat More Fruits and Veggies. So what are their suggestions for encouraging kids to get their 5 A Day?
- Keep fruits visible – have a bowl of fruit on the counter, put cut up fruit and vegetables in small bags in the refrigerator to pack with a lunch or grab as a snack.
- Fruits and Veggies at Every Meal – MyPlate shows half the plate should be fruit and vegetables. Have them as side dishes, add vegetables to soup, to entrees. Top off a yogurt with fresh fruit, put some sliced fresh fruit on cereal, frozen fruit is always good in smoothie.
- Be an example – let your kid see you eating more fruits and vegetables. Let them see you snack on fruit, bring sliced vegetables like carrots in your lunch. Carrots and hummus is a good snack. Let them see you order salads, vegetable sides at restaurants.
- Let your kids choose – at the grocery store, let them choose a fruit or vegetable to try, let them choose a vegetable as a side for dinner.
- Make it fun – make sandwiches with faces of fruit or vegetables, cut up the fruit into fun shapes.
- Vary the texture – some kids like smooth foods, others crunchy
- Try, try again – it can take a number of tries to get a kid to enjoy or even try something new. Keep trying.
- Offer old with new – serve kids a fruit or veggie you know they like with a new fruit or new vegetable. Encourage them to take at least one bite.
- Challenge your kids and the family to eat 5 A Day. Reward each kid with a sticker on the calendar if they met their 5 A Day goal.
- Encourage others – friends, family to offer fruits and vegetables to your kids.
For ideas on how to make fruits and veggies fun, visit Animal Snacks – Fruit and Vegetable Creations
Sources: Encourage Kids to Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Tips to help you eat fruits, Tips to help you eat vegetables, Animal Snacks – Fruit and Vegetable Creations, Image source: Animal Snacks – Fruit and Vegetable Creations