Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

About The Buzz: Sneaking Fruits and Veggies into Your Child’s Food

TheBUZZ Sneaking fruits and vegetables into your child’s foods is the best way to get her/him to eat them.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Adding pureed forms of fruits and vegetables to your child’s favorite foods will ensure that they are getting their recommended servings.

WHAT WE KNOW

There is no way around it, kids can be picky eaters. That being said, what do we have to do in order to get our kids to eat their fruits and veggies? Some parents have resorted to pureeing fruits and vegetables and adding them to kid-friendly foods. This helps parents feel assured that their children are getting the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables. However, it is also important to develop the habit of including fruits and veggies at meals. Over, time children can learn to appreciate their taste if they are consistently exposed to them. Seeing parents in the habit of eating fruits and vegetables is also important for getting children to eat them too.

HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?

It may take awhile, but if we continually expose our children to fruits and vegetables, they will probably learn to like them just as much as we do. Research has shown that a child may need to try a food 10 to 15 times, and possibly more before they develop a taste for it. Research has also shown that availability in the home has been associated with higher intakes of fruits and vegetables, especially in children and adolescents. Being in the habit of including fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks has also been shown to be related to higher intake.

OUR ADVICE

“Sneaking” fruits and vegetables into your child’s food is one way to add extra nutrition to meals. However, it is still important to include fruits and veggies in meals regularly so that children can learn to like these foods. That’s why it is a good idea to also include veggies as a side dish at meals even if you do “sneak”. Children learn by example, so as parents, we have to be good models of health. If your children see the rest of the family eating and enjoying their veggies, they may be more likely to try them. Why not ask you child to join you in the kitchen? Start by taking them along on your next trip to the grocery store and have them pick a vegetable they would like to try. Then, prepare this vegetable and try it together. Encourage them to try new foods all the time. As children get older their taste buds mature and they may like a food they didn’t like before.

THE BOTTOM LINE

It can be frustrating when your kids will not eat their fruits and vegetables. Try using different cooking methods and recipes and see what your child likes best. If you do “sneak” fruits and veggies into their foods, include it as a side dish as well and offer your child a small bite.

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