Canada’s Food Guide recommends that younger kids eat 4 to 6 servings of vegetables and fruit each day. Teens need 7 to 8 servings.
- Offer a choice of vegetables and fruit at mealtime. Kids like to decide. They also like to crunch! Try raw carrots, cut-up peppers and apple or pear slices as a snack. Serve vegetables and fruit in bite-sized pieces so they’re more tempting to try. Add some yogurt for dipping.
- Make vegetables and fruit fun. Cut them into shapes, or make a happy face with veggie slices. Remember that raw, fresh, dried, canned and frozen all add up. If your child won’t eat cooked peas, serve them raw and see what happens.
- Grow some vegetables of your own and let the kids help. Container gardening is easy and the kids will get to eat what they grow.
- Visit a local farmers’ market to check out what’s in season. It’s a good way to learn about where your food comes from and get some fresh produce at the same time.
- Toss veggies into soups and slow-cooker meals. Chop them up into rice dishes or blend them into pasta sauces. Use the blender or food processor to hide vegetables in foods like spaghetti sauce, chili, soup, curry, or shepherd’s pie. Pureed fruit or shredded veggies can be added into muffin and pancake batters too.
- Make popsicles. Mix vanilla yogurt and fruit such as strawberries, mango or banana in a blender. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.
- Create your own trail mix with nuts, seeds, wholegrain cereals and a serving of dried fruit such as raisins, figs or apricots.
- Make a smoothie for breakfast or a snack. Combine fruit, milk, soy milk or rice milk, yogurt and ice in a blender. Blend until smooth and drink.
- Use peer pressure to your advantage. Kids are more likely to eat a vegetable or fruit they don’t like once they see one of their friends eating it.
Be careful about juice, even if it’s 100% juice. It’s full of sugar and calories and can fill kids up fast. For a snack, offer fruit (which is full of fibre) instead of fruit juice. If you offer juice, make it a small amount.
Set regular times for meals and healthy snacks. Kids tend to snack more when there’s no real schedule and are more likely to reach for sugary treats.