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Getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

The secret to getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables is to have the right foods available for school lunches, dinners at home and after-school snacks—and to make them fun and colorful.

Most parents try to get kids to eat healthy simply by making sure their lunch bags and dinners include vegetables and fruits. But adding produce into a child’s diet is about more than trying to get them to embrace mealtime foods that are good for them.

“You need to make sure your child’s food is more than just healthful—it needs to be tasty and fun,” says Stan Stuka, Associate Business Manager, Dole Fruit Bowls. “Making the right foods, such as colorful fruit cups, readily available for between meal snacking and at after-school events encourage healthier eating.”

Here are some tips on how to add more fruits and vegetables into children’s diets:

—Stock-up on the right foods in your fridge and cupboard. If you regularly buy fresh, pre-cut, frozen and canned vegetables and fruits, it’s a lot easier to include them in meals and snacks. Get kids involved in shopping for produce, by encouraging them to choose their favorites.

—Incorporate fruits into snacktime. Make sure kids are getting healthful snacks, no matter if they are at home or an after-school activity or sporting event. Pre-packaged fruits cups do not require refrigeration and allow kids to enjoy bite-size pineapple, mixed fruit, peaches or tropical fruit no matter where they are.

—Increase the amount of vegetables and fruits in mealtime recipes, such as stuffing, casseroles and side dishes. Try adding different mixes of apples, pears, peppers, mushrooms, celery, etc. Toss cut or grated veggies into entrees, sides and soups. Add fruit to cereal and blend frozen fruits into smoothies. Make sure lunch bags include colorful fruits or vegetables and consider cutting them into fun shapes or bite-size portions.

—Lead by example. Parents should regularly snack on fruit and eat their vegetables at mealtimes. Choose vegetable sides instead of French fries at restaurants. Opt for fruit or nuts when snacking on family road trips, instead of bags of chips. Make your after-work snack low fat and vegetable or fruit-based.

“Healthful snacks have never been easier to take with you. There are more all-natural, on-the-go snacks available than ever before, so there are so many places and ways kids and parents can enjoy a little fruit,” says Stuka.