Eating fruits and vegetables is very important for overall health. Unfortunately, many people don’t eat enough of these healthy foods, especially children. Nutritionist Jennifer Hyland from the Cleveland Clinic in the US explains how to motivate children to consume more fruits and vegetables.
“Most children, as well as adults, don’t eat enough whole foods – especially fruits and vegetables. “But that’s really important because they provide vitamins, minerals and also fiber, a nutrient that most children lack,” reports the expert.
Get children used to fruits and vegetables early on
Children should be encouraged to include more fruit and vegetables in their diet to ensure an adequate supply of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
However, fruits and especially vegetables are not necessarily children’s favorite foods. To change this and get children to consume more fruits and vegetables, Hyland says it’s important to introduce them to these foods at an early age.
The expert recommends that parents should include fruits and vegetables in their children’s diet as soon as they start eating solid food. In addition, it is possible to make fruits and vegetables more interesting for children if they are allowed to choose the type of fruit/vegetable and the method of preparation themselves, adds the nutritionist.
For example, you could roast vegetables in the oven and let the child choose the spices or create a tasty dip together with the child. This is particularly advisable for children who are very picky about their food. The important thing here is not to give up and to keep offering the child fruit and vegetables, starting with smaller portions.
If you are never presented with certain foods, you will never eat them. According to Hyland, if parents avoid certain foods in their children’s diet because they don’t like them, they will never be introduced to consuming such foods.
Start with smaller portions
“You can start by giving them smaller portions of fruit and vegetables initially so they don’t become overwhelmed. It is important to give children the opportunity to try these foods. It’s also helpful to explore ways to make healthier foods fun,” the nutritionist said in a press release.
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Parents should set a good example
Another effective way to increase children’s fruit and vegetable intake is to set a good example by parents making sure they consume fruit and vegetables every day.
Although the recommended amount of fruit and vegetable intake depends on age, it is generally advisable to eat fruit or vegetables with every meal, concludes Hyland. (as)