According to Produce for Better Health Foundation, children ages 2-12 have increased fruit and vegetable consumption by at least 5% over the past 13 years.
Why is feeding fruits and veggies to your children so important?
There are many benefits to kids eating fruits and veggies, so let’s explore some of them! At a young age children’s bodies are still developing and requires good nutrition, and fruit and veggies provide a lot of vitamins and minerals. Fruits and veggies are also very high in filling fiber but low in fat and calories, so they are the perfect balance! Since they are high on fiber, it is likely your children will get full sooner and eat less of other junk, ultimately decreasing their risk of obesity. Fruits and veggies are also very beneficial for their school performance. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the dietary guidelines recommended for kids is at least one cup each of fruits and vegetables a day and a variety of both.
How do I get my child to eat fruits and veggies?
Most of the time kids are hesitant to eat foods like fruits and vegetables because they aren’t familiar with most of them. Introduce new foods to them slowly so they are more comfortable to eat them. Another idea is to cut back on the junk food all together. If kids are aware junk food is accessible to them, they are going to pick junk over foods more beneficial to them. Look at it from this perspective too, when are kids most inclined to do something? When they can do it themselves! Shop with your kids and let them prepare the fruit and veggie dishes! Another way your children may be inclined to eat fruits and veggies is if you present the food to them in a fun and exciting way, for example, the fruit and veggies in a rainbow shape or in the shape of a smiley face. This makes the experience more kids friendly and it may positively influence their consumption of fruits and veggies. If worse comes to worse, maybe sneak some veggies and fruit into their lunch box and see what happens.
Some of the top 10 healthiest fruits and veggies:
- Raspberries. Low in calories, sugar, and carbs but high in fiber.
- Kale. Plentiful number of vitamins.
- Garlic. Enhances immunity due to its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
- Blueberries. Contains antioxidants, good for memory and brain function.
- Brussel Sprout. Rich in antioxidant and selenium.
- Broccoli. rich antioxidant and selenium.
- Oranges. Contains about 78 percent of daily vitamin requirement.
- Red Bell Peppers. Rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
- Spinach. Abundance of vitamins, folate, magnesium and iron.
- Eggplant. Great source of antioxidants in addition to soluble fiber.