|Best For Kids Health|
of the recommended amount! Studies of U.S. kids show similarly dismal pat-terns. This means that many children are almost certainly missing out on im-portant vitamins and minerals. Here are some ideas for encouraging them to
eat more fruits and vegetables:
- • Let children plant and harvest their own vegetable garden.
- • Get children involved with the shopping. Let them choose (and, hopefully, eat) a new variety of fruits and vegetables.
- • Get children involved with washing, peeling, and cutting vegetables.
- • Aim to include two different vegetables with the main meal (usually dinner) and at least one vegetable with lunch. Mix colors.
- • Aim to include two different fruits, either as snacks or at meal-times (see the following suggestions).
- • Establish healthy snack habits, making fresh fruit (whole or cut into bite-sized pieces), carrot, cucumber, and pepper matchsticks the norm for at least one snack daily.
- • Set a good example yourself. Children are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they see you enjoying these foods daily and if there is a plentiful supply in the house.
- • Children are more likely to eat small portions of two or three different vegetables than one large portion.
- • Top breakfast cereal or yogurt with chopped fruit, e.g., strawberries, bananas, grated apple.
- • Crudités (perhaps served with hummus, salsa, or a cheese dip) make good lunchbox foods.
- • Think outside the “meat and two veggies” box. All-in-one meals transform vegetables into dishes in their own right: think vege-table stew, vegetable stir-fry, and vegetable chili.
- • Instead of tuna or cheese in baked potatoes, try steamed veggies or corn.
- • The tomato in pasta sauce counts as a portion, but next time, throw in a cupful of chopped broccoli, peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms.
- • Pass the fruit bowl around after dinner.
- • Fruit smoothies and shakes are a delicious way to get a portion or two of fruit. Purée strawberries and banana with orange juice and ice cubes.
- • Hide vegetables (e.g., carrots, mushrooms, spinach) in marinara sauce, soups, lasagnas, stews, bakes, and pies.
- • Include lettuce and tomatoes in sandwiches, or serve them on the side.
- • For younger children, make vegetables more fun. Arrange broccoli.
- • Younger children who refuse most vegetables will often eat “fin-ger” vegetables, such as sugar-snap peas, baby corn, green beans, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes.
- • Add a few spoonfuls of frozen peas, corn, or canned kidney beans to the saucepan while cooking pasta or rice.
- • Fruit cut into bite-sized pieces may be more attractive than whole fruit for younger children.
- • Children can easily get bored with the same fruit (such as apples and bananas). Try exotic fruit (such as mangoes or pineapples) or berries (such as strawberries or blueberries) at least once a week.