Encouraging your child to eat fruit from a young age may also help protect them against chronic diseases later in life.
We all know that fresh fruit is good for the health and wellbeing of children yet many children – especially toddlers – do not get their recommended daily allowance of five servings of fruit a day.
In fact, research suggests that only 2% of children meet the CDC’s recommended targets for fruit and vegetable intake, according to the website of the Fruits and Veggies – More Matters initiative.
Fruits are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, and they are high in fiber. Fruits also provide a wide range of health-boosting antioxidants, including flavonoids. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables can reduce a person’s risk of developing heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and diabetes.
Here are five tips for parents on how we can encourage our children to eat more fruit:
- Serve children the fruits they like, even if it is at the expense of variety. There is no reason why kids who love bananas shouldn’t have one every day. Eventually, parents can add variety by combining a favourite fruit with new ones.
- Fruit can be eaten at any time of day as a snack, and not just as a dessert. Consider serving fruit to kids with breakfast, as an after-school snack, or even in a salad with dinner.
- Make fruit a part of your family’s every day diet. It is well established that children tend to imitate their parents’ behaviour, particularly at mealtimes. So parents should set the example by eating plenty of fruit themselves.
- Prepare fruit in front of children or involve them in the process. Whether it’s scooping out melon balls for fruit salad, washing berries, or coring apples, giving children a task in preparing fruit will make them more likely to enjoy eating the result.
- Provide easy access to fruit. Keep a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table and allow kids to help themselves. For children who enjoy eating fruit, sometimes the best way to boost their intake is simply to remind them to eat it when they’re hungry.