It can be difficult to control your child’s dietary choices, there’s always the chance of having treats at school, birthday parties or on the weekends and during the holidays. It’s often hard to get them to stop eating too much grease or sugar. However, by incorporating just a few extra servings of fruit and vegetables into their daily meals, you can ensure that your child is getting lots of extra nutrients without the high calorie cost.
The general rule of thumb is that everyone over the age of five should have at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
Follow our tips below to increase your child’s intake of fruit and vegetables:
Give them one glass of pure fruit juice with breakfast
Add chopped fruit such as bananas or berries to breakfast cereals
Pack an orange with their lunch
Include a few slices of cucumber or a carrot cut into sticks in their lunch box
Give them an apple as an after-school snack
Try to include an 80g portion of cauliflower or broccoli with dinner.
Variety is important. Instead of carrots and cucumbers for lunch, why not try chopped peppers or a handful of blueberries for lunch one day or perhaps some strawberries and some chopped celery another day.
Most kids enjoy a multitude of fruits, thanks to their natural sweet taste. However, the sugars in fruits mean that they have more calories than most vegetables which is why it is advisable to eat more vegetables than fruits in a day. Fruit juices and dried fruits are also a handy option for kids, but should be used in moderation as they can cause tooth decay and lead to weight gain. The best way to enjoy fruit is to eat whole fresh fruit.
Colour is important when choosing vegetables. Vegetables that are bright in colour such as carrots, broccoli and peppers are the most nutrient rich. Diets with multicoloured vegetables will provide the widest variety of vitamins and minerals. It can be difficult trying to encourage kids to eat the vegetables on their plate, but try including them in their favourite dishes.
How to include
Increasing how much vegetables and fruit your child eats isn’t as difficult as you might think. Popping an apple or an orange in your child’s lunch box instead of a sweet treat or offering smoothies, healthy muffins, yoghurt and cereal are all great ways to ensure your child gets their five daily servings of fruit and vegetables.