Tips for Getting Your Kids to Eat Fruits and VegetablesJul 14, 2014
Many parents know the frustration of throwing away uneaten vegetables. Children need the vitamins packed into fruits and veggies, but getting them to eat green beans, carrots or spinach can be a challenge. Dr. Cindy Gellner has some tips for getting even the pickiest kids to eat β and even enjoy β fruits and vegetables.
Dr. Cindy Gellner: Some kids really love their fruits and vegetables. Some kids would rather just starve. So if you've got one of those kids that's kind of picky with fruits and vegetables, and you're not quite sure what to do, we're here to help.
I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner, and getting your kids to eat fruits and veggies is what we're going to talk about today on The Scope.
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Dr. Cindy Gellner: So, we all know those kids. I can tell you, I was one too. Not liking fruits and vegetables. More often, it's the veggies that kids don't like. Fruits, usually they're like, oh good, this is sweet. It comes in fun colors. And, yeah, let's have some more fruit. But vegetables, eww, those are gross. Those are yucky. I'm just going to push them around on my plate and not eat any of them. So, how do you get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables?
Well, finding creative ways to encourage them to eat their fruits and vegetables can actually be fun for the whole family to come up with. Fruits are available in fresh, frozen, canned, and dried forms.
I would actually say avoid the canned forms, mainly because, for fruits, they have more sugars in them because they're packed in juice. And for the vegetables, many of the canned vegetables actually have more salt.
So, if you can't buy fresh, and you don't like the dried forms, because they just kind of, are weird, get the frozen kind. You don't have to worry about them going bad like fresh fruit and vegetables you have to worry about eating in a certain amount of time. Frozen can stay frozen for a while, and they always have the same amount of nutrients as the fresh, because they're usually frozen pretty quickly.
Here are a couple of tips on how to get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies. Keep them accessible. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit and vegetables on the counter, and you can even refrigerate cut up fruits and vegetables in small bags for easy snacks on the run.
They make little snack bags. Just fill them with portions that are appropriate for your child, for fruits and vegetables, so if your child has the munchies, they can just reach in, grab a bag, and go.
Serve fruits and vegetables at every meal. You can add grated or cut- up vegetables into entrees, side dishes and soups. Sometimes you can mix them in and your child doesn't even know they're eating them.
You can even top off cereal or yogurt with fruits, and you can add frozen fruits to smoothies. Smoothies, and actually, juicing, is really popular right now, so all your kids probably are going to be, like, hey, let's make a smoothie. It's summertime. Let's have something cold to drink.
Have your kids help pick out which kinds of fruits and vegetables they want to put in their smoothie too. That's a good way to get them involved. Set a good example.
Yes, I was a picky eater, but guess what? I've actually grown up and I eat a whole lot more fruits and vegetables now than I ever did as a child. Snack on fruit and order salads and vegetables as side dishes when you're at restaurants and show your kids it can be really fun to eat healthy.
Most people should eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. You can make it into a game. Challenge the family members to reach their daily fruit and vegetable goal, and reward the winner with a prize of his or her choice.
Fruits and vegetables, I will also tell you, are sold at school lunch programs. Most schools will have at least two or three fruits and vegetables that your child can choose from and this is all the way down to the elementary school level too. So encourage your children to choose fruits and vegetables when they're offered at school, and be sure they eat them, not throw them away.
Keep trying. It takes kids about eight times before they really start to acquire a taste for certain fruits and vegetables. So the more you offer it to them, the more they're likely to say, eventually, you know what, it's not that bad.
So remember, once a picky eater, not always forever a picky eater. The more you introduce the foods that are healthy to your kids, the better.
When choosing fruits and vegetables for your dinnertime, let the kids choose which fruits and vegetables they want to have. And that way, they'll be more likely to eat them.
You can also try to make the fruits and vegetables fun. Try dressing up sandwiches with faces and smiles made from fruits and vegetables, and you can also have lots of fun dips that your kids can try dipping things into. You can have ranch dressing, or applesauce, or peanut butter.
And finally, another fun thing to do around this time of year, plant a garden. Kids are really interested in learning how things grow. You can plant some berries. You can plant some snap peas. You can plant some tomatoes.
Let your kids learn how things go from seeds, all the way up until the fruits and vegetables that you find in your kitchen, because the more kids learn about the fruits and vegetables they're eating, the more enticing they are for kids to want to eat, because they're, like, I grew this myself. I want to try it. Cool. Look at how awesome these berries are.
So it's a really big incentive to have the kids get involved in making the meal plan, and growing the fruits and vegetables, and eventually, the more they do it, the more variety they'll have, and the more they'll want to eat their fruits and vegetables, and then they'll continue to pass that on to their kids and their friends, because their friends will see them eating healthy, and they're going to want to eat healthy too.
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