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5 Critical Reasons to Add Fruits and Veggies to Your Kid’s Meal

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You already know fruits and vegetables are a necessary part of your family’s diet, but do you know why? I actually didn’t. All I knew was produce contained goodies that our bodies need to keep us healthy and strong.

Although I try to serve my kids the recommended value of fruits and vegetables each day, I could be doing a much better job. The truth is, when parents don’t make fruits and vegetables an integral part of their family’s diet, kids grow up with less and less of what their bodies need to reach their full potential. Science totally backs this up! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported results from a Minnesota study that found from middle to high school, students decreased their daily consumption of fruits and veggies by about one serving (about one-half cup). Friends, that’s just not nearly enough.

 

  • Why Fruits and Veggies REALLY Matter 1 of 6
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    In an effort to understand why fruits and veggies are such a vital part of my kids' diet, I decided to do a little research. Check out what I learned about why we should be adding fruits and vegetables to every meal.

  • Reduced Child Obesity Risk 2 of 6
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    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 percent of children in America are obese, putting them at an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions as they mature. Providing our children with a wide variety of fruit and vegetable choices can reduce our children's risk of obesity for overall better health.

     

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Enhanced School Performance 3 of 6
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    According to a study published by The Journal of School Health, children who consumed a healthy diet of nutritious foods (including fruits and vegetables), performed better on academic assessments than peers who consumed a lower quality diet.

     

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Strong Bodies 4 of 6
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    Children need vitamins and minerals to grow and reach their full potential.

    Visit Produce for Better Health's Fruit Nutrition database and Vegetable Nutrition database to learn more!

     

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Happier Bellies 5 of 6
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    A full belly is a happy belly, that is, when occupied by foods that are gentle on the intestinal system. The Harvard School of Public Health reminds us of the gastrointestinal benefits of indigestible fiber found in fruits and vegetables. Regular consumption of high-fiber foods such as fruits and veggies help alleviate irritable bowel discomfort, relieve constipation, and possibly prevent diverticulitis.

     

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Better Vision 6 of 6
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    A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help maintain your child's eye health. Not only does produce rich in vitamin A work to help maintain sharper vision, but a regular diet of fruits and veggies can help your child prevent cataracts and macular degeneration as they age, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

     

    Image credit: Shutterstock

Now that we understand why fruits and veggies make such a difference in our children’s health, you may be wondering how to encourage them to eat more.

Try the following parent-approved tips for encouraging your child to consume more fruits and veggies for a lifetime of better health:

  • Add dip [source]: Little fingers just love having something to dip into. Try a variety of fun dips paired with finger-friendly fruits and veggies for snack and mealtime fun.
  • Offer variety [source]: It’s no secret that kids get bored pretty easily. A new and exciting variety of fruit and veggie choices is the best way to not only encourage your child to consume more but to expand their food profile. Offer a variety of fruits in a fresh fruit salad, or fruit cups!
  • Offer familiar foods in new ways: There’s nothing that says apples need to be eaten whole or in traditional slices. Try serving apples in fruit squeezers instead! Dried fruits are also a fun way to present familiar fruits in in creative new ways.

 

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