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13 ways to get more veggies and fruit into your kids

Canada’s Food Guide recommends that we all eat plenty of vegetables and fruit each day.

This can sometimes be challenging with kids. How do we make sure they get enough?

Offer an array of choices. Kids like to decide. They also like to crunch! Try to give them a few choices of raw veggies and fruit for snacks. And offer a couple of options at mealtime too.

Serve bite-sized pieces. Sliced apples, carrot sticks and small broccoli “trees” are more inviting to smaller hands and appetites than whole fruits and vegetables. They’ll be more likely to try new things and eat more of what they like!

Just add dip. Plain yogurt-based dips or hummus are great to add flavour and excitement to veggies and fruit.

Serve them with a side of fun. Cut fruit and veggies into shapes or turn slices into a happy face on a plate.

Offer veggies in different ways. Raw, fresh, dried, canned and frozen offer slightly different tastes and textures. If your child won’t eat cooked peas, serve them raw and see what happens!

Grow your own. Kids are more likely to be interested in food they’ve helped nurture along. Container gardening is easy and can be done almost anywhere.

Visit your local farmers market. You’ll get the freshest, best version of seasonal fruit and veggies. Plus, chatting with farmers is a great way to learn about where food comes from.

Add more veggies to your recipes. Dishes like soup, stew, pasta sauce, curry, chili and shepherd’s pie can always use more veggies than recipes call for. If you think your kids will resist kale or broccoli in spaghetti sauce, pop some in the blender and then stir it in.

Make baking more nutritious. Puréed fruit or shredded veggies can be added to muffin and pancake batters for extra flavour and nutrition.

Make popsicles. Mix vanilla yogurt and fruit like strawberries, mango or banana in a blender. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Create your own trail mix. Combine nuts, seeds, wholegrain cereals and a serving of dried fruit such as raisins, figs or apricots for a healthy snack.

Make smoothies. Smoothies make great on-the-go breakfasts and snacks. Combine fruit, vegetables, yogurt and ice along with milk, soy milk or rice milk in a blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy.

Offer whole fruit instead of juice. Even 100% juice is full of sugar and calories. Whole fruit has the benefit of fibre and can be just as thirst-quenching. If you serve juice, make it a small amount and dilute it with water.

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