According to experts, eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day is healthier than the minimum five (currently recommended) and is thought to increase health and life expectancy. But with many parents finding it hard enough to get children to eat 5 portions, we have outlined our top tips for supporting children to eat more fruit and vegetables.
Do you struggle to get your kids eating enough fruit & vegetables?
Don’t panic, there’s a lot you can do to make fruit & veggies fun. This article should help you!
5 Tips to make food fun:
Find here useful tips supporting children to eat 7 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
- Maximize their interests — cut whatever you can in a fun shape: carrots can be cut into diamonds, cucumber as a flower or even heart shape.
- Focus on colour — use a combination of colours in their daily meals. Red, yellow, green peppers, spinach, corn, carrots are some great ways to add colours to boring meals. Adding foods of every colour in each meal will ensure that your child’s body gets the wide variety of nutrients required to grow strong and healthy.
- Involve children in preparing and selecting food — involve your child in aspect of food preparation including planning menu's and food shopping. This process will teach children to take responsibility for decisions and also make them more likely to want to eat what they have prepared.
- Serve it differently– Small sized and finger foods are always fun. Bite sized sandwiches or mini muffins are likely to catch a child’s attention.
- Let children have fun with their food — It is important to let children explore their food, for example cheese cubes can become building blocks or broccoli might be trees.
Make Fruit & Veg Available
- Keep a bowl of fresh fruit in an accessible spot and tell the kids that they can dip into it whenever they like
- Keep bags of chopped up fruit in the fridge for healthy snacks
- Put a bowl of chopped raw veg on the table during dinner – kids often love raw carrot, cucumber & broccoli when it is presented this way
- Have veggies with every meal, fruit with every dessert
- Keep bags of fruits & veggies in the freezer so they are always to hand
- Add a box of dried raisins or chopped fruit in a bag into your child’s lunchbox as a surprise
A great way to get children eating more fruit and veg is to create home-made fruit smoothies. Even the most anti-fruit child may enjoy a smoothie. smoothies are easy to make, and are super healthy too. You can find tips and recipes HERE.
Grow your own
When children get involved in growing fruit and vegetables, they are much more likely to try them. If you have a small garden, you could try a blackcurrant bush or a dwarf apple tree. If you don’t have a garden, you could grow tomatoes, cress and herbs on the windowsill.
Change the Texture
Some children like lumpy food, others prefer it smooth, and others prefer food to be crunchy – so experiment with different textures. The humble carrot can be served raw (crunchy!), lightly boiled, or mashed to a puree. Just see which method works for your family.
If your child likes smooth food, take leftover veggies (e.g. carrots, potatoes, parsnips), blend them in a food processor or smoothie maker, add some stock and you have instant vegetable soup.