Struggling to get your kids eating fruit and veg?

Another one of my guest blogs, this time from a lovely lady, nutrition expert Joanna. She is incredibly friendly and easy to talk to with loads of advice. I have been very lucky with my kids eating almost anything but there are plenty of friends and customers who struggle daily to get their kids to have their 5 a day. The tips below should help and if now, get in touch with Joanna!


Top tips to help children eat more fruit and veg!


Written by Joanna Injore RD Bsc (Hons) MBDA


We are all aware that fruit and vegetables are good for us and we all should be aiming for 5

portions a day. Toddlers and children are also no different. However, as parents this is often

one food group we struggle to get our children to eat enough from.

So what vitamins and minerals do you actually get from fruits and vegetables?

The top 4 are vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and folate.

Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron and has a role in developing a healthy immune

system.





Vitamin A helps to keep our immune system healthy as well as our vision and skin.

Potassium is needed to regulate our blood pressure

Folate is involved in red blood cell production and needed for normal cell growth

Why do we need fruit and vegetables? Can’t we give a supplement instead?

All children 6 months to 4 years should be given a supplement with vitamins A, C and D but

eating fruit and veg on top can provide other benefits. One of which is fibre. Fibre helps to

keep our digestive system working properly and prevents constipation. There is also

growing evidence that fibre help encourages healthy bacteria to grow in our gut.

Help! My child won’t eat them!

Sometimes the reluctance to eat fruit and vegetables is due to being unfamiliar with the

food’s appearance, taste or texture. Working on increasing your child’s exposure to

different food and veggies lays the foundation of getting them to eat more.

So how can we do this?


Five non-food methods to increase exposure to fruit and vegetables

1 Playing

Young children learn through play and there are lots of different ideas you can try to

encourage children to play with their food in a helpful way!

- Messy play: use a tray and make a road with spaghetti and use cooked broccoli or

cauliflower for the trees or make stamps from potatoes for painting. Anything you

can think of that encourages touching and playing

- Roleplay: play shops using real fruit and vegetables at your ‘supermarket’, offer fruit

and veg at your ‘restaurant’, have a picnic with dolls and teddies but use real fruit

and veg instead

- Colouring: colour in pictures of fruit and vegetables or cut pictures out and give ‘the

characters’ names and create your own stories or games.




2 Learning

Talking about fruit and vegetables and why they are good for our body in simple terms helps

to reinforce a positive image around these foods


- Children learn from watching us so share the same fruit or vegetables snacks with

the kids

- Learning from picture books: a recent study 1 showed looking at books of fruits and

vegetables helped children eat more and like them more! So, look for books which

feature fruit and veg and talk about them. Some books which feature fruit and veg

are The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle), Handa’s Surprise (Eileen Browne), I Will

Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato (Lauren Child) and Oliver’s Vegetables (Vivian French)


3 Growing

Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a great way to get children interested in food

- You don’t need lots of space just a few pots on the windowsill will do.

- Carrots, tomatoes and lettuce can all be grown in a pot. Kids will have so much fun

watering the plants and watching them grow each day

- PYO (pick your own) farms are a great day out and also a fun way of kids getting

familiar with fruit and veg and where they come from. Afterwards you can have fun

deciding how to cook them together!


4 Cooking

Preparing meals as a family and cooking together, makes the whole process of then eating

the food a little easier. Getting kids involved in cooking helps them to feel part of the meal

and gives them a chance to touch and feel different foods, so again become more familiar.

- Kids can get involved with washing different foods and helping with preparing them

depending on their age. Young children for example can help to break broccoli into

florets pieces

- Older children can help prepare their lunch by cutting up cucumber or tomatoes or

adding some salad to their sandwiches.






5 Shopping

Shopping is a good opportunity to talk about different fruits and vegetables and encourage

children to consider try new types

- When you are shopping point out the different colours or play a game of how many

yellow fruits can you find

- Get your kids involving in choosing which veg to buy. Encourage them to put their

chosen produce in the basket or trolley. This all helps with improving their familiarity

It is really important to keep food fun and pressure free. Once children become more

familiar with fruit and vegetables they will be more willing to try them!


If you want more nutrition advice you or your children please head to www.jinutriion.co.uk

Face book page https://www.facebook.com/JINutrition/

Useful links:

For fruit and vegetable colouring pages check out this link:

https://www.kidspuzzlesandgames.co.uk/themes/fruit-and-vegetable

Reference:


1 Appetite. 2018 Sep 1;128:32-43. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2018.05.140. Epub 2018 May 26.

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