Most kids like fruits because they are sweet and delicious. According to the USDA dietary recommendations, children should have between one and two servings of fruit a day.
For example, a serving size of fruit is a medium sized piece of fruit or a cup of chopped fruit. Unfortunately, sometimes parents find it easier to stock up on inexpensive, non-perishable snack foods—full of sugar, carbohydrates, calories, and preservatives.
Instilling a healthy love of fruit instead, is extremely beneficial for children.
· Naturally healthy with vitamins and minerals
· Low calorie snacks that combat obesity if used as a replacement for high calorie snacks
· Fiber that will help aid their digestion and keep them regular
There is a reason parents often give their kids unhealthy snacks. Fruit can be expensive and it might go bad before it gets eaten. Don’t let that deter you! Here are some helpful tips:
Do eat fruit whole—many of the nutrients of a fruit such as apples are in the peel. Fruit juice can be counted as a serving of fruit but is high in calories and can cause tooth decay making it not as good of an option as a piece of whole fruit. Encourage kids to eat different colored fruits because they have different nutritional value.
Do serve food raw—fruit is naturally sweet so it doesn’t need added sugar or other condiments. These will simply add calories. Let your children develop a taste for natural fruit.
Do buy in season—in season fruits will be higher quality and less expensive. The nutritional value of fruit frozen at the peak of ripeness is often better than fresh fruit bought off season so consider that as an alternate.
Do buy organic—non-organic foods are treated with pesticides, and residue can remain after washing. Be a savvy shopper and selectively buy organic if you cannot afford to buy all organic. Berries, nectarines and grapes are on the “dirty dozen”—a must buy organic foods list. On the other hand, some fruits like bananas and mangoes do not need to be purchased organic.
The best way to help your kids get a natural taste for fruit is to incorporate it into snacks and regular meals. Try these ideas and before long your kids will be asking for fruit!
Throw it in the lunch box—adding fresh fruit to your kid’s lunch box is a great way to give them a nutritional boost during the day. A small washed apple, pear or bunch of grapes are great kid-friendly choices.
Pick your own—take your kids to pick their own fruits. Apple orchards, strawberry farms and peach farms are a lot of fun for the whole family and kids will enjoy snacking while picking!
Serve different varieties—don’t always serve fruit the same way. Kids love smoothies, fruit salads and even cold frozen fruits. Dried fruits like prunes and apricots are also great for kids.
Make fruit treats for holidays—serve fruit treats like parfaits, fruit kabobs or chocolate covered berries from Shari’s Berries for birthdays or holidays.
Make it accessible—always have an appetizing fruit bowl at eye level and arms reach for your kids and tuck other snack options away in the pantry. You’ll be surprised how easily kids reach for fruit when it is available.
Getting your kids to eat fruit isn’t a hard sell. When introduced early in childhood, kids will develop a natural taste for fruit that will set them up for a lifelong healthy lifestyle.