Both children and adults alike should be eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. However, that can sometimes be difficult, especially with picky eaters in the house. Although acting as a good role model and eating a balanced diet are two of the most helpful learning tools when it comes to learning how to eat healthy, these alone may not be enough. Discover what you can do to add more fruits and vegetables to your child’s diet.
Consider cutting down on the amount of processed foods bought at the supermarket. That can be difficult when trying to cater to a variety of palates and a budget to keep in mind, but phasing out unhealthy food while slowly replacing them with healthier alternatives is an investment in your child’s future health. When picking out fresh fruits and veggies, ask your child to help. Explain how produce ripens and rots, and ask them to help you choose the best item. Frozen vegetables and fruit are a cost-effective way to keep healthy food available at home throughout the year.
If your child has a favorite fruit or vegetable, consider offering it as a first choice as a snack. If they don’t yet have a favorite, try experimenting with many kinds of fruit and vegetables, even if your family may not always eat them. Place a bowl of fruits out in an area where children can easily reach them, whether on the countertop or at eye-level in the refrigerator. You can also combine fruits and veggies with food you children already enjoy, such as dipping apples or celery in peanut butter or hummus.
For full meals, there are many recipes that can make fruits and vegetables more palatable to those who are not used to them, such as baking asparagus or brussel sprouts, or making a pizza with a cauliflower crust. You can also mix vegetables and fruits into your child’s favorite meals, such as adding peas to mac and cheese, or fruit topping a plate of pancakes. For the pickiest of eaters, try sneaking veggies into dinner. Puree and grate foods like carrots and zucchini into soups, stews, casserole dishes, and other baked items.
If healthy eating doesn’t work the first time, keep trying. It can take up to a dozen introductions before someone begins to enjoy a new food. Find more nutritious and simple recipes to serve the children in your care by exploring our recipes page, or browsing one of our other healthy eating blogs.