Fruits & Vegetables for Kids: How Much Do They Need?

Vegetables for kids

It’s the ancient battle between parents and kids — getting your family to eat enough vegetables. Research has proven that many children in the United States will go days without consuming a single vegetable, which is damaging to both their health and the development of their eating habits. So the question remains, how many vegetables should a child eat per day and what’s the secret to getting kids to eat vegetables and fruit?

How much should they eat?

The amount of fruits and veggies your kids should consume is mainly based on their age, increasing as they get older. However, appetite and activity levels are also a factor to consider.

Here’s the breakdown:

 

Age Fruit Vegetables
1-2 ½ serving 2-3 servings
2-3 1 serving 2.5 servings
4-8 1.5 servings 4.5 servings
9-11 2 servings 2 servings
12-18 2 servings 5-5.5 servings

 

A serving is relatively 150 grams or about 1 cup. In general, a good rule of thumb is to make your child’s meals be ½ vegetables, ¼ lean meat or other protein, and ¼ grains.

Every parent wants their children to be healthy and eat the food that will fuel their body through all their activities, but getting kids to eat their vegetables can be quite the challenge. What can we do about that?

How To Get Kids To Eat More Vegetables

Kids are far more likely to eat vegetables if they’re made readily available to eat whenever they’re hungry. While it can be a struggle (they may try broccoli ten times before they’ll eat it!) there are a few strategic ways to keep vegetables in their diet and encourage healthy eating habits.

Involve Everyone

When grocery shopping, get the kids involved by allowing them to help you pick out fruit and veggies to have at home and involve them in meal preparation as well. Remember to select produce that’s in season — it tastes better!

Get Creative!

Don’t get stuck in serving fruit or vegetables in one way, get creative with how they’re prepared or served. Puree vegetables for sauces or soups, bake apples for a fun dessert, put some bananas in cereal, or serve ants on a log for a fun after-school snack.

Put Fruit & Vegetables in Every Meal

This sounds harder than it is. As mentioned above, there are plenty of ways to include healthy food in your child’s diets without handing them a plate of broccoli. But it is important to include them in every meal — this will help your child get used to eating fruits and vegetables regularly and encourage healthy eating early on!

Make Snack Time Healthy

Rather than giving your child sugary or salty snacks, give them apple or peach slices, carrots and dip, a fresh fruit smoothie, or other healthy foods they gravitate to. There are plenty of ways to keep your kids healthy during snack time while still making it fun!

Additionally, keep a fruit bowl out that’s always stocked. This will encourage your child to grab a piece of fruit if they’re hungry!

Keeping fruit and vegetables in your child’s diet may seem challenging, but don’t lose hope. With a few creative ideas and a little patience, hitting the recommended amount of daily servings should be a breeze! For more information regarding healthy eating habits for your child, contact the experts at Grow Pediatrics today!

Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats For Kids (+ Other Ideas) That Your Family Will Love

Healthy Valentine's Day Treat for Kids

Valentine’s Day is considered the most romantic day of the year, but why not involve the whole family in your celebration? There are plenty of healthy and fun Valentine’s Day ideas for kids that will allow your whole family to celebrate your love for one another.

Valentine’s Day Food Ideas for Kids

Breakfast Ideas

Start Valentine’s Day off the right way with a few fun and festive breakfast ideas! Grab some heart-shaped cookie cutters for a few heart-y meals:
– Heart-shaped pancakes
– Heart-shaped bacon
– Heart-shaped toast (or heart-shaped eggs in a basket)

Add some raspberries or strawberries to keep the red theme going!

Lunch/Dinner/Snack Ideas

If your child is heading to school, you can pack them a gorgeous lunch with a heart-shaped PB&J, fruit cut up into heart shapes, or a tasty dessert such as homemade heart-shaped rice krispy treats.

Come dinner time, consider a homemade pizza — shaped like a heart, of course — that will give the kids something to look forward to all day. Using homemade ingredients and plenty of fresh veggies will keep the meal a healthy Valentine’s Day treat for your kids!

Decorate

Decorating for Valentine’s Day is a great way to bring a sense of festivity into the house and make everyone feel special. Consider decorating your child’s room with pink, white or red balloons attached to their favorite healthy snack or a small present, such as a stuffed animal or a book.

Another idea is to decorate their bathroom mirror or bedroom door with red or pink post-it notes with messages telling them how much you love them, what they’re great at, or other positive messages to remind them how loved they are.

Dress Up

There are plenty of options for dressing up to celebrate the international day of love. As a family, grab some inexpensive red or pink t-shirts, fabric paint and a heart shaped stencil to make your own matching shirts for Valentine’s Day.
Another option — find some funny Valentine’s Day clothing items such as punny t-shirts, heart-shaped glasses or other quirky accessories to show off your family’s creative side.

If your child has long hair, consider doing hairstyles with Valentine’s day themed hair accessories or even finding ways to style their hair with little hearts in it!

Arts and Crafts

Encourage your children to make homemade valentines to pass out to classmates, teachers, siblings, grandparents or other family members. Homemade valentines are a classic staple — a Valentine’s Day craft for your kids that the whole family can enjoy. Construct a Valentine’s Day mailbox together to keep all of their valentines and special notes, or even encourage them to write notes about what they love about each member of your family to read at dinnertime!

For any additional tips on how to make holidays fun and healthy, contact the experts at Grow Pediatrics today!