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!


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!

Healthy Holiday Habits For Families

Healthy holiday treats

The winter season is a time for celebrating with friends and family, indulging in tasty treats, and a few well earned days of relaxation. However, as the holidays approach and winter continues, your kids will have extended time off school, the days will be short, and more than likely they’ll be spending more time indoors. Additionally, families tend to eat heavier comfort food so staying healthy is difficult this time of year. Typically from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, the average weight gain is 3-10 pounds. While this may seem insignificant, it could result in future health problems and the development of bad habits. But don’t panic! If you’re looking for healthy holiday tips for kids there are plenty of ways to encourage your child to keep the treats to a minimum, keep activities high, and everyone’s stress low.

Healthy Holiday Treats

Treats featuring fruit, veggies, or high protein foods are a perfect alternative to snacks saturated with sugar or fat and are a great way to keep kids healthy during celebrations. Keep your holiday meals filled with plenty of vegetables to keep your calorie counts from getting too high.

In addition, keep an eye on portion size as holiday meals tend to encourage overindulgence. Make sure your children are eating appropriately sized meals, snacks, and treats.

Regular Meal Patterns

The holidays can be hectic for everyone, but keeping your kids’ meals as regular as possible is vital to preventing overeating and overindulging. Avoid eating less to indulge more in a holiday favorite, keep your meals regular so you can still enjoy some of your holiday favorites without eating too much.

You may also want to consider involving your children in the meal prepping process. Let them help in selecting healthy meal recipes and get them in the kitchen to learn how to prepare their own food. Teaching them about healthy eating habits at a young age will leave a lasting impact on their overall health and self-sufficiency.

Stay Active

This doesn’t mean you need to hit the gym for two hours with your kids in tow — there are plenty of ways to keep the whole family active without involving free weights! Winter weather offers plenty of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy including:

– Ice skating
– Ice hockey
– Snowball fights
– Building snowmen
– Sledding
– Skiing/Snowboarding

Don’t let the cold weather keep your family cooped up in the house, get outside and make sure everyone gets to burn off some energy.

If the weather is not ideal for playing outside, get creative with some indoor activities. Avoid screen time as much as possible so your children still get plenty of exercise. Here are a few ideas:

– Cook holiday meals together
– Plan a scavenger hunt
– Play a board game
– Build a fort
– Play hide and seek
– Do chores together

Get Plenty of Rest

Sleep and taking time to relax is always important, but the stress and excitement of the holidays can take an extra toll on you and your family. Getting enough sleep will keep the whole family happy and healthy as you begin the new year.

However, make sure your kids aren’t sleeping in too much during winter break. Ensure they wake up around the same time each day so going back to school won’t be a huge shock to their system.

Enjoy Yourself!

This time of year is magical and festive for all, and it’s especially important to remember to treat yourself. Don’t let the stress of the holidays keep you from relaxing and celebrating with loved ones. Kick back and enjoy a hot mug of cider by the fire and watch your favorite holiday film or read your favorite book. It’s a magical time of year, after all!

Looking for a way to stay active this season while also giving back to your community? Check out our blog on holiday volunteer opportunities for families.

MythBusters: Fake News Regarding The Flu Shot

Woman giving child flu vaccine


As the holidays approach, so does a not-so-pleasant time of year — flu season. Whether you vaccinate your children or are considering vaccinating them for the first time, having the facts is imperative to your family’s health and safety. However, there are several skewed pieces of information out there regarding influenza and the vaccine which could prevent you from taking the proper precautions. So, what are common flu vaccine misconceptions?

A Flu Shot Causes The Flu

Flu shots do not cause the onset of flu symptoms. You may notice some side effects such as soreness, redness, or possible swelling at the injection spot. In rare cases, there may be instances of headaches, a low grade fever, or potential muscle aches.

When a flu vaccine is made, it is either conceived from an inactive flu virus that is no longer infectious, or without any flu viruses such as in the case of the recombinant vaccine. A vaccine does not contain active flu viruses that can cause the illness.

Getting the Flu Is Better For Your Immune System

Absolutely not! Influenza is a serious disease that can have serious complications and can even be fatal. This is particularly true amongst young children, senior citizens, or those with certain chronic health conditions.

Even amongst the healthiest of children and adults, the flu can mean hospitalization and even death. Vaccination is by far a safer choice than risking a dangerous illness to strengthen your immune system.

Pregnant Women Should Not Get Vaccinated

No way! Pregnant women or people with pre-existing conditions do not need to avoid vaccinations or require special consent from their doctor.

If you have any concerns about receiving vaccinations during pregnancy or for any other reason, consult with your primary care provider.

A Flu Vaccine Won’t Protect You From New Strains

Getting vaccinated helps your body fight off the strains included in the current vaccine, but it also helps your immune system fight off any other strains that may inevitably develop. This is also why the vaccine is updated every year, to keep your body up to date on the latest flu strains and keep your immune system strong. Additionally, the effectiveness of the vaccine declines after one year, and staying up to date is important.

Don’t fear flu season, and don’t fear the flu vaccine! The positives for vaccinating you and your family far outweigh any possible negatives, and protecting your loved ones from a potentially fatal disease in a time when it is the most prevalent is the safest choice to make.

For further information regarding flu vaccinations, contact the experts at Grow Pediatrics today!

Fighting Germs: Flu Prevention Tips for Parents and Kids

Sneezing child in need of flu prevention tips


Fall and winter mean pumpkin pie, trick or treating, Thanksgiving, and snow days! But although the colder weather promises lots of fun things, the inevitable flu monster is guaranteed to rear its ugly head. This doesn’t mean you need to keep your children in isolation for fear of getting sick, however. There are a variety of flu prevention tips for kids and parents that will help everyone get through another season of coughing and sneezing this year.

Continue reading “Fighting Germs: Flu Prevention Tips for Parents and Kids”

Twin Cities Mini Golf

Enjoy the outdoors this spring and summer with an afternoon playing mini golf with your loved ones and little ones! Mini golf is a great way to exercise as a family, and helps children with their hand-eye coordination. If you need a rainy day activity, several courses are available indoors as well.

To find a course near you, just move your curser over the map!

Keeping Your Children Safe with Poison Safety Tips for Kids

Did you know that children under the age of six make up almost half (48%) of the poison exposures each year? It is essential that you as a parent have access to the information and strategies you need to keep your child safe, so we wanted to give you some simple tips to prevent your child from getting their hands on something that could be hazardous to their health.

Around the House
Whether you have children, or are expecting, there are a number of things that you can do around the house to keep your children safe, and it all starts with baby proofing. Of course, softening sharp corners and edges around the house is one thing, but when it comes to poison prevention, your number one objective is to keep medicines, household cleaning products, and other potentially poisonous household goods out of sight and out of reach. How?

  • Install safety latches on any cabinets containing poisonous materials.
  • Store hazardous household products up high.
  • Purchase products that come in child-resistant packaging* as an extra line of defense.

*It is extremely important to note that child-resistant packaging is NOT childproof. This type of packaging is designed to make it difficult for a child to open the product, giving you more time to notice and remove it.

Children get sick, it’s a fact of life, and naturally we reach for a variety of medicines to cure their ailments. But, with that being said, improper use of medicine, be it the wrong dosage or use of the wrong medicine, can have devastating effects on your child. To avoid any mishaps, use the following poison safety tips concerning your over the counter and prescription medicines:

  • Always turn on the light when searching for and administering medicine to avoid grabbing the wrong bottle
  • Read the label and any directions listed on the packaging thoroughly
  • Double-check the dosage before administering
  • Never leave a medicine bottle out (on a counter, at your child’s bedside)
  • Never refer to medicine as “candy” or a “treat” to entice your child to take it
  • Avoid taking medicine in front of children whenever possible


Household Chemical Products
Household cleaning products, especially things like bright colored laundry detergent pods, and other sweet smelling cleaners, are dangerous for young children who learn with their mouths. The same goes for things like paint, rodent/insect poison, and more. To protect your child…

  • NEVER, under any circumstance, use a food container, cup, or bottle to store chemical products
  • Always remove any toys (child or pet) from your yard before applying pesticides of any kind
  • Rinse and re-cap empty cleaner/product bottles before recycling or disposal
  • Keep products in their original containers whenever possible


In General
There are other potentially dangerous products and items that can be found around your house. For instance, you need to know about the plants in and around your home, removing any that are poisonous, regardless of how beautiful they may be. From washing all clothing worn when using pesticides and other aerosol paints to keeping purses containing medicine up high and out of your child’s reach, there are many ways to create a safe environment for your children. Two of the most important tips are the following:

  • Always close containers if you are interrupted during use, this way, your child never has access to an open hazardous product/medicine/etc. while you are distracted.
  • Teach your child to always ask an adult before eating or drinking anything.

By following these tips, you can help to protect your children from a potentially life-threatening encounter with poison. If you ever suspect that your child, or anyone that you know has been poisoned, do not hesitate to call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222.