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5 Ways to Add Easy Vegetable and Fruits to Your Child’s Diet

5 Ways to Add Easy Vegetable and Fruits to Your Child’s Diet

  • June 12, 2022

We’ve all known the US Department of Agriculture’s “5 A Day” slogan for years. But did you know the recommendation has been raised to 7 to 13 servings PER DAY? This may seem overwhelming to the average parent!
Why do we need so many fruits and vegetables anyway?
Fruits and vegetables are packed with important nutrients that can help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
1. According to the American Diabetes Association, over 20 million children and adults have diabetes.
2. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 64% of adults are overweight.
3. According to the American Heart Association, more than 80 million Americans suffer from some form of heart disease.
4. According to the Bogalusa Heart Study, an estimated 70% of our children by the age of 12 have developed the beginning stages of hardening of the arteries.
5. According to the International Journal of Obesity, nearly 50% of obese youth remain obese as adults.
These are frightening facts!
Make sure you and your family are on the right path to better health with these 5 ways to add easy veggies and fruits to your diet:
1. SNACKING: Make sure fresh fruits and vegetables are on the LOW shelf of your fridge within easy reach for the kids. Make an appetizing after-school snack, like Ants on a Log (celery with peanut butter and raisins) or Potted Plants (small bowl of hummus with baby carrots sticking out and parsley for the “leaves”). Kids LOVE fun foods! Why do you think they sell so much food with cartoon characters on it?
2nd MIRROR: Let your children see how YOU eat vegetables and fruits. The more children see their parents eating healthy foods, the more they will imitate this behavior. The “do as I say, not as I do” model DOESN’T WORK! They need fruits and vegetables every day as much as they do. So, EAT!
3. COOKING: Simply adding a handful of veggies to an omelet or a few berries to oatmeal can be an easy way to add more produce to your diet. Try adding mashed carrots and squash to spaghetti sauce, or make a smoothie with low-fat yogurt, berries, ice cream, and even some green veggies like kale and cucumber. (My kids drink this straight up and would NEVER eat kale on their own! I even make popsicles out of the smoothies during the summer months.)
4. GARDENING: Planting a backyard garden is a great way to get the kids involved in what they eat. Growing vegetables gives children a sense of pride and encourages them to eat what they grow. My kids can’t wait to get out in the garden and pick fresh veggies and herbs for our summer dinners!
5. MEAL PLANNING: When planning your meals, make it a point to include as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Serve with a vegetable soup or side salad for dinner, or a fruit cup with frozen yogurt for dessert. Make skewers for the grill or roast root vegetables in the oven for a tasty side dish.

Simple changes to your family’s diet will not only improve their health but also their happiness.

Thanks to Cindy Hamilton

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