It’s the ancient battle between parents and kids — getting your family to eat enough vegetables. Research has proven that many children in the United States will go days without consuming a single vegetable, which is damaging to both their health and the development of their eating habits. So the question remains, how many vegetables should a child eat per day and what’s the secret to getting kids to eat vegetables and fruit?
How much should they eat?
The amount of fruits and veggies your kids should consume is mainly based on their age, increasing as they get older. However, appetite and activity levels are also a factor to consider.
Here’s the breakdown:
Age: Fruit: Vegetables
1-2 1/2 Serving 2-3 Servings
2-3 1 Serving 2.5 Servings
4-8 1.5 Servings 4.5 Servings
9-11 2 Servings 2 Servings
12-18 2 Servings 5-5.5 Servings
A serving is relatively 150 grams or about 1 cup. In general, a good rule of thumb is to make your child’s meals be ½ vegetables, ¼ lean meat or other protein, and ¼ grains.
Every parent wants their children to be healthy and eat the food that will fuel their body through all their activities, but getting kids to eat their vegetables can be quite the challenge. What can we do about that?
How To Get Kids To Eat More Vegetables
Kids are far more likely to eat vegetables if they’re made readily available to eat whenever they’re hungry. While it can be a struggle (they may try broccoli ten times before they’ll eat it!) there are a few strategic ways to keep vegetables in their diet and encourage healthy eating habits.
When grocery shopping, get the kids involved by allowing them to help you pick out fruit and veggies to have at home and involve them in meal preparation as well. Remember to select produce that’s in season — it tastes better!
Don’t get stuck in serving fruit or vegetables in one way, get creative with how they’re prepared or served. Puree vegetables for sauces or soups, bake apples for a fun dessert, put some bananas in cereal, or serve ants on a log for a fun after-school snack.
Put Fruit & Vegetables in Every Meal
This sounds harder than it is. As mentioned above, there are plenty of ways to include healthy food in your child’s diets without handing them a plate of broccoli. But it is important to include them in every meal — this will help your child get used to eating fruits and vegetables regularly and encourage healthy eating early on!
Make Snack Time Healthy
Rather than giving your child sugary or salty snacks, give them apple or peach slices, carrots and dip, a fresh fruit smoothie, or other healthy foods they gravitate to. There are plenty of ways to keep your kids healthy during snack time while still making it fun!
Additionally, keep a fruit bowl out that’s always stocked. This will encourage your child to grab a piece of fruit if they’re hungry!
Keeping fruit and vegetables in your child’s diet may seem challenging, but don’t lose hope. With a few creative ideas and a little patience, hitting the recommended amount of daily servings should be a breeze! For more information regarding healthy eating habits for your child, contact the experts at Grow Pediatrics today!