Sunday, November 16, 2014

How can you get your kids to eat more fruit and veggies?

In the health class I teach, it is a challenge to get parents to serve fruit and veggies to kids.  Then when they do, they say the kids won’t eat the fruits and veggies.  Some of my students work in day care centers and the center tries to serve healthy fresh fruit and vegetables only to have the kids turn up their noses.  So how can parents, day care centers and others who work with kids, get the kids to eat more fruits and veggies?  For good health kids should eat a minimum of 5 A DAY – five fruits and veggies a day.  Many eat none.  So here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control:

10 Ways to Help Kids Eat More Fruits and Veggies

1.    Keep a bowl of fresh fruits on the counter.  Keep cut up fruits and veggies in the fridge in small bags to easy snacks.                                                                              
2.    Serve 2 fruits and veggies at every meal
a.       Breakfast  - one fruit is fine but lunch and dinner need 2.  MyPlate shows half the plate is fruits/veggies. 
b.      Sneak veggies into foods – add grated or cut up veggies into spaghetti sauce, meat loaf, other entrees, side dishes and soups.  Top off cereal with fruits or add frozen fruits to smoothies.
3.  Set a good example.
a.       Snack on fruit and veggies when at restaurants – order the salad, the apple slices, and sides of veggies.
4.  Pack the refrigerator, freezer and cupboard with pre-cut, frozen and canned vegetables so that it is easier for you to prepare meals and snacks that include vegetables.
5.   Challenge family members to reach their daily fruit and vegetable goal.
a.       Reward the winner with a prize of his or her choice.
b.      Start with 5 A DAY then try for more than 5 servings of fruit/veggies a day.
  6.  Ask that fruits and vegetable be offered at school functions, sport games, after school programs, and in vending machines.  
7.    Let children choose which fruits and vegetables to serve and how to incorporate them into their favorite meals. 
       8.  Make fruits and vegetables fun.  Try dressing up sandwiches with faces and smiles made from fruits and veggies.   
       9.  Keep trying.  For some foods, it may take multiple times before a child acquires a taste for it.
10.  Encourage friends or relatives to offer vegetables and fruits to your children.

And one last tip – French Fries don’t count.  They are so high in fat, CDC even doesn’t count them as a veggie.  Potatoes yes, French Fries no.
If you want to view some kids’ excuses for why they won’t eat something, see this clip a relative shared with me:  Picky Eating Habits

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