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Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Encouraging Kids to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Give them plenty of opportunites to try new things.

Sometimes a child will love a new fruit or vegetable the first time they try it. Other times, it may take two, three or even more tries before a child gets used to the taste of a new item. Ask kids to try one bite. If they don't like it, that's fine. Allowing them to stop at one bite makes trying new foods less scary. If, after trying a new fruit or vegetable two or three times, your child still does not care for that food, move on to other new fruits and vegetables. After all, there are just some foods that even YOU don't like. It's important to keep offering new fruits and vegetables, though, because you never know when they will find one they like.

Be a good role model.

Children learn many of their behaviors by watching what older siblings and grown-ups do. The actions of older family members will definitely influence how kids react to fruits and vegetables. So watch what you say and do. it could make a big difference.

Allow them to make their own choices by offering variety and including them in choosing what to eat.

Asking kids to pick the fruits and vegetables for a meal allows them choose their favorites or suggest new ones to try. They might surprise you. Get your kids interested in making fruit and vegetable recipes. Have them help find recipes to try in cookbooks, magazines, newspapers and online. Take them to the supermarket where they can have fun hunting for the fruits and vegetables needed for the recipe. Getting involved in the preparation process will spark more interest in trying more things.

Make it fun and easy.

Make fruits and vegetables convenient by placing them in spots where kids will see them first. Fill a large basket or bowl with fresh fruit and place it on the kitchen counter or table. Put bottles or boxes of 100% fruit juice on lower shelves where kids will see them when they open the fridge looking for a cool drink. Have snacks ready to grab in small plastic bags, (cut up raw vegetables, peeled and segmented oranges, seedless grapes, etc.), ready and waiting in your refrigerator. Encourage younger kids to "play with " their fruits and veggies. They can make faces or build things and then eat them.

Give them a choice of how it is prepared.

Sometime a kid will eat something raw that they won't eat cooked. Let them try dipping pieces in a low-fat dip or yogurt or even juice. They might like them prepared on a grill during a barbecue. Fruit salads are usually popular.

Add fruits and vegetables wherever possible.

Adding fruits and vegetables to favorite foods is an easy way to get a child to eat more fruits and vegetables. Put fruit on cereal. Add slices of green and red pepper to cheese pizza. Make strawberry milk shakes with frozen strawberries, low fat frozen yogurt and milk. Put some shredded carrots and lettuce on a turkey sandwich. Add carrot 'coins' to chicken noodle soup. Put slices of tomato inside cheese quesadillas. Just use your imagination to come up with 100 other ways to add some more fruits and vegetables to your child's diet.

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