How to get your kid to eat more fruits and vegetables

How do I get my child to eat more fruits and veggies?How much is enough fruits and veggies for my child? How can I get more fruits and veggies in my child’s diet? These are among the most common questions I get asked from moms.

Most often I’ll encourage moms to try different fruits and veggies at every meal with their kids and try them in a variety of ways.

Have a look at Canada’s Food Guide, which can provide nutritional information for your child’s age group and recommended servings per day.

As for getting more in the diet, it’s important to include a wide variety of fruits and veggies for kids and with each meal/snack. It can sometimes feel overwhelming to get the recommended servings in the diet so start by including a fruit or vegetable with each meal and snack.

Don’t forget that it’s important to try and try again when it comes to getting kids to try new foods, especially vegetables – sometimes he/she may need to be offered a food 20 times or more before he/she learns to enjoy.

Be patient and don’t stick to his/her favourite fruit time and time again – open your mind and their plate to fruits and veggies of all kinds and colours and cooking them in a variety of ways! (For more tips, you can also check out one of my previous posts Why are some kids picky eaters?)

Here’s some easy ways to help add fruits and veggies to your – and your child’s – day from the terrific website Fruits & Veggies More Matters:

  • Plate method. Fill half of their plate with fruits and veggies at every meal and snack.
  • Pump up the veggies. Add extra fruits and vegetables to dishes, even if they already contain/call for them in the recipe.
  • Substitute. Substitute fruits and veggies in any meal – they’re lower in calories than many other foods.
  • Stock Up. Always stock frozen and canned fruits and veggies for quick meal prep. Try to choose canned fruit and vegetables without added sugar, syrup, cream sauces or other ingredients that add unnecessary calories.
  • Steam & Flavour. Steamed vegetables make great sides. Add flavour with low-calorie or low-fat dressings, herbs and spices. Garlic is one of my favourites!
  • Grab & Go. Always have fresh fruits and vegetables in easy-to-grab places (a fruit bowl, sliced in the fridge, trail mix) – Sunday prep days can go a long way to increasing fruits and veggies in the diet! (For more on this, check out my related post on Preparing for the work week ahead.)

And remember – if at first you don’t succeed, just try and try again!

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

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