Alternative ways for children to consume fruits and vegetablesAlternative ways for children to consume fruits and vegetables https://sarvanisfarm.gr/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/ygeia-kai-diatrofi-600.jpg 600 600 Παραγωγή φρούτων και λαχανικών, πωλήσεις χονδρικής, Αγρόκτημα Σαρβάνη Παραγωγή φρούτων και λαχανικών, πωλήσεις χονδρικής, Αγρόκτημα Σαρβάνη https://sarvanisfarm.gr/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/ygeia-kai-diatrofi-600.jpg
By Kallia T. Giannitsopoulou
Clinical Nutritionist – Nutritionist, MSc, MBA, SRD
Head of the Diet Center ‘Healthy Body’
Children need a healthy diet to support the optimal development of their mind and body. Healthy eating (including eating a variety of vegetables and fruits) helps prevent a wide variety of health problems, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, lack of iron, osteoporosis and dental caries.
But how can parents help their children consume more fruits and vegetables? Parents can now start with some simple (but powerful) strategies to increase children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables so as to improve their overall nutrition.
10 tips to increase children’s intake of vegetables and fruits:
1. Be the example!
Children have a natural tendency to imitate. If you want your child to eat a snack fruit, you should do the same. If you eat Vegetables at dinner, your child is likely to follow suit and do the same.
2. Eating Together as a Family:
Having a routine that children are served dinner around the same time daily creates an expectation that improves appetite. A comfortable, relaxed eating environment creates positive associations and allows children to be exposed to a variety of foods. Breakfast is a great meal to enjoy together as parents can make breakfast seem a priority.
3. Ask your child:
Kids enjoy finding ideas for lunch and adding them to it. Give your child some healthy choices to choose from for their meal.
4. Keep going!
Don’t give up on healthy choices, even if your child doesn’t always eat them. When their flavors mature, they are likely to develop a different taste and begin to like them.
5. Make it fun!
Kids love to have fun and this creates a positive relationship with healthy eating. Try to make a fruit salad using a skewer from which your child can choose their own pieces of fruit.
6. Dip it!
Children enjoy sauces that increase the consumption of vegetables and fruits. Try including the sauce with the Vegetables as part of the meal. You might be surprised how many Vegetables they eat!
7. Get the kids in the kitchen!
Go shopping with your child, help them write a list, or encourage them to pick a new fruit or vegetable to try. When you are at home, assign specific tasks to the kitchen to include your child in the meal preparation. For example, your child could rub cheese, break an egg, or cut vegetables according to their age and comfort in the kitchen. You build a life skill here, so be patient and encouraging! Cooking skills are related to healthy eating, since your child will be less dependent on packaged, processed foods.
8. Make your own fruit and vegetable juice!
Try making fruit and vegetable juices for a quick healthy breakfast or afternoon snack. Children can choose which fruits or vegetables to include.
9. Experiment by Adding Vegetables and Fruits!
Create together and try adding vegetables and fruits to pastries, lunch foods or salads. Try adding blackberries to pancakes or making zucchini bread or marinated carrots. Children will enjoy adding fruit to salads or vegetables, to omelets or homemade pizzas.
10. Make it convenient!
Keep plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables washed and available for quick snacks to add to or include in meals. Keep these foods available and visible to promote consumption. For example, apples, pears, bananas, grapes, and carrots are all easy to use. Remember to add yogurt, milk or hummus for extra protein.
Children are sensitive and require parental guidance in order to adopt healthy eating habits that they will follow in life.