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Help Small Children to Eat Fruit and Vegetables

By: Joanne Walker BA (hons) - Updated: 11 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Children Portion Fruit Vegetables Diet

Youngsters may not always be inclined to eat healthy foods and therefore you may have to help small children to eat fruit and vegetables. There are a variety of reasons why small children may not want to eat their fruit and veg but all of them are easily overcome with a little thought and perseverance. Children can be stubborn, especially when it comes to food, but it does not mean that getting them to eat healthily has to be a battle of wills.

Peer Observance

Even the youngest child will look to their peers to see what they are doing, and, in this case, eating. If your children go to nursery or a childminders where they mix with other youngsters, they may see children there refusing to eat fruit and vegetables and preferring to fill up on chocolate and biscuits. There is not a lot you can do about what they see when they are in the company of other children but it may be a point worth bearing in mind before you choose a nursery for them.

Some establishments may provide meals and pride themselves on a healthy eating regime. That way, there is no danger of your child seeing their friends eating junk. Of course, the other children may still refuse fruit and veg but if their parents have chosen to send them to an establishment such as that, the chances are they will eat healthily at home as well.

Get Creative

When it comes to encouraging your youngsters to eat fruit and veg, the best thing to do is be creative. Children are far more likely to turn their nose up at a large portion of broccoli put in front of them than a creatively topped pizza, full of freshly cooked vegetables. It is not about disguising vegetables but more about not making a big deal out of it - add the vegetables to the meal rather than turn them into a side portion. So all kinds of pasta dishes can have brightly coloured veg added to them to make children actually want to eat them. Vegetables sticks and a small tub of dip are a great and fun way of increasing the amount they eat.

Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is a great way of boosting anyone's daily fruit and vegetable intake but with children, caution should be exercised. Fruit juice contains large amounts of natural sugar so should be enjoyed in moderation, especially amongst children whose teeth are still forming. They could be given watered down juice, and should never be given it directly before brushing their teeth as this will allow the sugars to attack the teeth as they are brushed.

Getting children to eat fruit and vegetables should not be a daunting mission - particularly if they are given them from the day they start eating solids. If children are used to a plethora of fruit and veg in their daily diet, they are not ever going to find it odd or turn up their nose at it. Involve the children too, in cooking and preparation of the food. If you are feeling really adventurous, you could even get them to grow their own - tomatoes or beans are always good crops to start children off with.

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