How to Incorporate More Fruit Into Kids’ Meals

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Getting kids to eat fruit can be a challenge for many parents — but it doesn’t have to be.
Fruit is a great source of key vitamins, antioxidants and energy. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of American children do not consume enough produce.
Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian specializing in family nutrition, knows that parents are always looking for more ways to incorporate wholesome fruits into children’s diets. Here are some of her fruitful tips:
1. Let children pick their own fruit. Giving kids a few options to choose from will make them more likely to eat one of them at mealtime. Consider taking your child to a farmer’s market or the produce section of the grocery store so he can become familiar with the large variety of fruits available and pick a few new ones.
2. Serve fruit for dessert. Show kids that fruit can be just as tasty as candy or cookies for dessert. Try frozen bananas, mandarin oranges, or pineapple; mango smoothies, or watermelon balls for some fruity treats.
3. Make fruit a habit. Incorporating fruit into every meal makes it a routine that’s easy to keep. For breakfast, put berries or bananas into cereal or on top of whole grain waffles. For lunch, put pear slices on a peanut butter sandwich, serve “cantaloupe smiles” or let your child scoop out a kiwi. Filling up on fruit will make children less likely to be tempted by empty-calorie snacks.
4. Make it easy. Kids are more likely to eat fruit when it’s easy to “grab and go,” especially when it’s already packaged into manageable portions. Keep fruit front and center on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf, where kids can see and reach it.
5. Give kids a lunchtime option they already enjoy that includes fruit. The new Lunchables With Fruit (www.lunchables.com) provide a full serving of fruit with Dole Mandarin Oranges or Pineapple Tidbits in 100 percent fruit juice. The new line includes four kid-favorite varieties, including Peanut Butter + Jelly Sandwich; Turkey + Cheddar Cracker Stackers; Ham + American Cracker Stackers and Extra Cheesy Pizza.
6. Make fruit fun. Make fruit kabobs, fruit cut into shapes with cookie cutters and yogurt fruit parfaits to entice kids to eat more fruit. Working together in the kitchen with kids is time well spent.
7. Parents -; eat more fruit! Setting the example of eating more fruit is a powerful way to get your kids to also. Positive encouragement helps, too.

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