Eating vegies and fruit every day makes for a healthy childhood, as well as setting in place lifelong healthy eating habits. But try telling that to a little one who won’t eat their vegies! So how can you encourage kids to eat enough vegies and fruit each day?
The first solid foods most babies eat are vegies and fruit. These often continue to be a major part of their diet for the first 12-18 months. When kids are exposed to a wider range of foods, they may begin to lose interest in vegies and fruit. Try to delay the introduction of unhealthy foods like chips, chocolate, lollies and biscuits. Once introduced, limit these foods and encourage kids to keep eating fruit and vegies everyday.
You can encourage your kids to eat more vegies and fruit if these foods are part of what your whole family eats. It'll set a good example too!
In an early childhood education and care setting
If you’re an educator, try providing plenty of vegie and fruit options whenever meals or snacks are served – and make sure you eat with the kids so that they see you enjoying these healthy foods too. Also, have the kids eat together as a group so that they can see their friends eating and enjoying vegies and fruit.
Other strategies that may work for you:
- Involve kids in fruit and veg shopping and preparation
- Present vegies and fruit in fun and attractive ways
- Making meal times positive and enjoyable experiences
Avoid choking risks
Some raw vegies and fruit could present a choking risk for toddlers or young children. Partially cook or grate hard vegetables and fruit such as apple, carrot and celery to reduce this risk. Cut grapes into quarters for kids under three years. Corn chips, nuts and popcorn can also be a risk to kids under three.