As a parent, your top priority is making sure your child is happy and healthy. However, when your little one refuses to eat their fruits and vegetables, you may feel at a loss. Whether your child is always a picky eater or simply thinks they don’t like healthy food, getting them to eat what’s good for them can be tricky.
Luckily, you can make fruits and vegetables for children that also look enticing and taste delicious for the whole family. If you want to know how to get your child to eat more fruits and vegetables, these tips can help you find creative ways to promote healthy eating.
The Benefits of Fruits and Veggies
Children and adults of all ages can benefit from fruits and veggies. Even if your kids are the ones who need convincing, adding fresh, nutritious produce to your family’s diet has advantages for everyone.
Some of the biggest benefits of eating fruits and vegetables from a young age include:
- Increased overall health: Eating fresh fruits and vegetables each day helps kids establish healthy habits that make a big impact. A diet rich in a variety of fruits and veggies helps people keep healthy appetites and gain many essential nutrients, like vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. Also, strong evidence suggests the nutrients found in produce can lower the risk of chronic diseases and other health issues such as high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, eye problems, and certain cancers.
- Healthy growth and development: Healthy eating helps kids grow healthy and strong. Especially in infancy and early childhood, while children’s bodies and brains are still developing, the nutrients fruits and veggies provide are crucial supporting factors for memory strength and academic performance. The antioxidants in produce help improve brain function when growing kids need it most, and help them sustain physical health long into the future.
- Strengthened immune systems: A balanced diet with lots of vitamins and minerals can help young bodies fight infection and disease. Fruits and vegetables help all the body’s cells function well, including immune cells that thrive off of micronutrients found in plants, like vitamin C and protein. A healthy family eats a good diet to stay protected from common infections.
- Healthy digestive systems: Lots of fruits and veggies contain several grams of fiber, which helps calm irritable bowels and triggers regular bowel movements. Digestive discomfort is no fun for anyone in your household. Swapping junk food for items like berries, avocados, and carrots can help your little ones feel good all day long.
5 Tips to Encourage Healthy Eating
You may understand why your child needs to eat their fruits and veggies, but they may not know why these foods are good for them. Kids who are too young to take charge of their own nutrition need supportive parents who will help them find fun ways to eat fruits and vegetables. You can turn healthy eating into creative solutions for the whole family.
These tips will show you how to encourage your child to eat fruits and vegetables:
1. Try Dipping
Young kids love to eat with their hands, which helps them explore new foods on their own terms and develop fine motor skills. Vegetable sticks and fruit slices are easy to hold and fun to eat. Take advantage of this finger food fascination and give your child a variety of dips to dress up their fruits and veggies.
Get creative with exciting flavor combinations like apples and peanut butter, carrots and low-fat ranch salad dressing, or bell peppers and hummus. Dips can also provide an extra source of protein or fiber.
2. Sneak in Fruits and Veggies
If your child refuses to eat certain fruits and vegetables, try serving foods with hidden produce they won’t even notice. Lots of dishes and baked goods can conceal extra ingredients that pack a nutrient boost.
Pureed and grated vegetables and fruits go great in soups, stews, and casseroles. Cakes and breads are also the perfect places to plant some extra healthy helpings. You can even use your imagination and whip up a fruit smoothie with a secret vegetable or add some grated veggies to ground meat.
3. Involve Your Child in Food Prep
Your child may feel wary about eating certain foods they’ve never seen before. Unfamiliar sights, tastes, and textures can all overwhelm them and make them reluctant to eat fruits and veggies. Exposing your child to the ingredients in different dishes by inviting them to help you cook can help them get used to the idea.
You can even turn your nightly or weekly meal prep into a fun family bonding activity. Have your child help you pick out recipes, go grocery shopping, and plan the cooking process. Once your child has a clearer idea of how a vegetable or fruit goes from start to finish in a recipe, they may appreciate this new food better.
4. Be an Example
In all areas of life, children learn by example. Since you’re one of the prominent adults in your child’s life, one of the best ways you can encourage them to take up healthy habits is to let them see you live those habits as well.
Make fruits and vegetables a prominent part of each meal you eat as a family and make sure your child sees you and other adults enjoying the variety you provide. Once your child understands veggies and fruits are a part of everyday grown-up life, they may feel better about giving them a try.
5. Keep Trying
Your child may not like everything they try right away. Just like with other food groups, as kids are exposed to different textures, colors, and flavors, they’ll most likely encounter some fruits and veggies they don’t care for.
Maybe change the way you serve a certain vegetable or fruit, either in presentation or preparation method. Foods that look appealing or pretty might catch their attention and inspire them to try a bite.
Play around with different ways of serving produce, or try the same way multiple times to see if your child changes their mind after a while. Kids often learn and re-learn about the world around them. They may eventually acquire a taste for something they initially didn’t care for.
Learn More About CCA Today
Your child deserves a healthy experience in all areas of their life. From eating fruits and veggies to getting a great education, you can provide them with the enrichment they need for a bright future.
At Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA), your child will receive a tailored learning curriculum that best suits their needs, led by supportive teachers who make learning fun. We’re committed to family involvement, and we also provide a range of exciting and educational Health and Physical Education courses designed to help your child see how fun a healthy lifestyle can be.
CCA is committed to every child’s academic performance. Our students enjoy a flexible, personalized learning schedule, which drives them to succeed when combined with a balanced diet to power their brains.
Contact us today to learn more about CCA and see how your child can thrive in cyber school.