Fruit and Vegetables - Have You Covered Your Diet Essentials?

Fruit and Vegetables - Have You Covered Your Diet Essentials?

Fruits and veggies should form a large part of your child's diet. They are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, all of which will promote healthy growth and development. A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables are also needed to build a child’s immune system and ensure good health presently and in the future. Remember that your child’s food preferences determine their future dietary habits.

Fruit and vegetables of assorted colours contain differing amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Eating mainly fruits may mean that your child is missing out on nutrients found in vegetables. Likewise, eating just one type of vegetable means that your child is likely to be missing out on essential nutrients that are available in other vegetables of different colours. For example, carrots are high in vitamin A, while spinach is high in folate. This is why it is important to eat enough of both to get the benefits from a wide range of these essential nutrients. But in spite of all of these benefits, many kids make fuss about eating fruits and vegetables. Children’s taste buds are constantly changing and evolving, so by making mealtimes pleasant and enjoyable, it can become a positive experience that helps children grow fond of fruits and vegetables. As a parent, you should actively encourage your children to eat fruits and veggies, and when their healthy choices are applauded, they are more likely to try them again.

Because most children develop eating habits and tastes from an early age, it is important that parents provide a variety in their children’s diet from the time they are young so that they will be less likely to develop nutritional deficiencies in their adulthood. There are several ways you can make fruits and veggies fun and tasty for kids. Do not feel discouraged if your child complains about the taste of a fruit or vegetable. Listed below are some practical tips to help increase the fruit and vegetables for kids.

  1. For breakfast, try adding mashed up fruit into their porridge or experiment with a smoothie recipe. These are great alternatives to just giving your child a plate fruit they may not enjoy.
  2. Making fresh juices is also a healthy way to introduce fruits and vegetables into your child's diet. Since they are unable to see the whole fruit, they might find it easier to consume juices.
  3. Always prepare a plate of vegetables along with the meal. Make sure that you serve your child veggies first, before anything else. Try out different vegetables and find what your child likes, then try and incorporate that vegetable in different meals during the day.
  4. If your child asks for pizza, make sure that you add a lot of vegetables to it. It is also a good idea to blend vegetables to create a paste which can then be applied to the crust without them ever knowing!
  5. Some children often dislike the texture more than the actual fruit or vegetable. So if your child tells you that he or she hates the taste of chopped carrot, you could try grating it instead.
  6. Introduce your children to new fruits and vegetables. For instance, purchase fruits and vegetables that are in season. This will help bring change to their diet and also make their meals more varied.
  7. Fruits can also be used as deserts. A frozen fruit is just as nutritious as a normal fruit. Frozen fruits can be served in the form of easy fruit cups or even tasty lollies that can be enjoyed after meal time.

It is preferable to opt for seasonal varieties of fruits and vegetables as they are fresh and more easily available. However, you can also include fruits and vegetables in their alternative forms, such as frozen, canned, and dried produce in your child’s diet. Always remember that fruits and vegetables in your child's diet should not be considered optional. Including them in meals and snacks on a regular basis is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your child is enjoying a nutritious and balanced diet.