Getting Kids to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
It can be easy to get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies with these tricks.
If you are a parent, you know how difficult it is to get your child to eat one serving of fruits or vegetables, let alone fill half of their plates with them, such as the nutrition education tool MyPlate recommends. A study conducted by Ohio State University in 2009 found that on average, only 26% of children ages 6-11 years met the recommendations for fruit intake, and about 16% met recommendations for vegetable intake. Try these tips to make fruit and veggies a favorite for your family!
- When children get home from school or sports practice, set out a plate of fruit and vegetables with a dip they love to snack on. Let them try a low-fat dressing, such as ranch, to give their vegetables an extra pop of flavor. For fruit, combine low-fat vanilla yogurt with unsweetened applesauce and a hint of cinnamon. You may be amazed at what they will try when they are hungry!
- Have your child pick a fruit or vegetable at the grocery store that neither of you have tried before. If you, as a parent are trying something new for the first time, they may be more open to try this new item too. Purchase fruits that are dried, fresh, frozen and canned to be sure you always have a supply on hand. By choosing all forms of fruits, you can be assured you and your family will receive similar essential nutrients with each choice.
- Allow your children to take part in making their lunch for school the following day. Allow them to pick out one of their favorite fruits or a new one they would like to try. Del Monte® makes this easier for you and your child with our Del Monte® Fruit Bursts™ Squeezers and Del Monte® Fruit Cup® Snacks!
- Cook with your kids! Depending on your child's age, children are a great help at cleaning, peeling or cutting fruits. In the morning, have your children help you to make fruit smoothies. If you are able to get the kids to try new fruits in a smoothie, they may be more willing to try them in the whole form. Chances are, they will be excited to participate in mealtime and will want to try their creation.
- To incorporate fruit into dinner, add canned pineapple to coleslaw, or mandarin orange sections, grapes or strawberries to salads. Or, try meat dishes that incorporate a fruit, such as pork with apples, or chicken with apricots or mangoes.
- Even the simplest pasta dish, is a great opportunity for a veggie infusion. For macaroni and cheese, add some carrots, cauliflower, or broccoli to increase the amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals. If making spaghetti, add some extra canned, diced tomatoes, making it especially convenient and boosting the amount of antioxidants in the meal. Some other ideas include adding sliced zucchini, green beans or squash. If your child is picky, try chopping up the vegetables into very fine pieces.
- Encourage your child to try fruits in fun forms. Cut pieces into different shapes or make fruit kabobs with a rainbow of colors. Use a melon baller to turn cantaloupe or honeydew into bite-sized planets and cut watermelon and pineapple into stars.
- Kids lead busy lives, and always being on the go can lead to unhealthy snack choices. For a quick snack before sports practice, the easy-to-grab pouches of Del Monte® Fruit Bursts™ Squeezers make a great option. It's a great way to ensure your child is receiving 1.5 servings of fruit and an excellent source of vitamin C.
- When preparing spaghetti sauce or casseroles, add blended vegetables such as spinach into the mixture. The sauce will tend to taste the same and your child will receive the health benefits of the vegetable.
- Lastly, be a great role model for your children! Typically, if they see you eating fruits and vegetables at home with meals or as a snack, they will be more inclined to try them.