Studies have shown that most American adults don’t get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables into their diets. Only about 9% of adults eat enough vegetables each day, and only about 12% eat enough fruits.
With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to hear that most American kids aren’t getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, either. Kids are, thankfully, starting to eat more fruit than in years past. But they’re still lacking in the vegetable department.
Do you have trouble getting kids to eat vegetables and fruits in your house? There are some tricks that could make life a little easier on you and your kids.
Check out seven tricks that you can try at home to encourage your kids to take in more fruits and vegetables as part of their regular diets.
1. Give Your Kids All Different Types of Fruits and Vegetables
There are literally hundreds of different types of fruits and vegetables. But unfortunately, most parents only get around to serving their kids about a dozen of them.
Expand your kids’ horizons and give them different kinds of fruits and vegetables! There’s bound to be at least one or two that they really like trying.
Devote an entire week to eating nothing but fruits and vegetables that start with, say, the letter A. This will, of course, include apples. But it’ll also include:
Then, move on to the letter B and eat bananas as well as:
- Brussels sprouts
- Butternut squashes
Your kids are not going to like everything they try. But when you make eating fruits and vegetables feel like a fun experiment, they’ll be more likely to put new things to the test.
And who knows? You might even land on ten or so fruits and vegetables that your kids like that you wouldn’t have thought to try otherwise.
2. Start Serving Up Fruits and Vegetables as Snacks
How many times do your kids run up to every day and yell those two words that all parents dread? You know the words that we’re talking about, right?
They send shivers down parents’ spines. But they don’t have to anymore once you start using these moments to your advantage.
The next time your kids say they’re hungry, cut up some fruits and vegetables and serve them up as a snack. Mix them up so that they look colorful and appealing to your kids.
Once you get into the habit of serving fruits and vegetables as snacks to your kids, you won’t mind hearing them say they’re hungry as much as you do now. You’ll also be happy with all the fruits and vegetables they’re taking in.
3. Provide Your Kids With Something to Dip Fruits and Vegetables in
Just like you’re tired of hearing your kids say, “I’m hungry!”, your kids are tired of you saying, “Don’t play with your food!” So why not encourage them to play with their food for once?
Give your kids something to dip their fruits and vegetables in when they’re eating them. Peanut butter will work well for something like apple slices, while ranch dressing will work well for carrot sticks.
4. Use Fruits and Vegetables to Make Smoothies
If you stick a plate filled with fruits and vegetables in front of your kids and you provide them with something to dip them in and they still don’t bite, you might have to take things to the next level.
Take those fruits and vegetables, stick them into a juicer, and make smoothies! Suddenly, those same exact fruits and vegetables will look so much more attractive to your kids. And in some cases, their bodies will absorb even more nutrients out of fruits and vegetables when they’re juiced as opposed to eating them raw or cooked.
5. Tell Your Kids About the Fruits and Vegetables Their Favorite Athletes Eat
Do your kids love to play sports? Use that to your advantage when getting kids to eat vegetables and fruits turns into a chore.
Sit down with them and show them what an athlete like LeBron James eats every day. Focus on how a lot of his meals consist of things like blueberries, bananas, mandarin oranges, cucumbers, and more.
6. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables Yourself
How can you expect your kids to eat fruits and vegetables if you don’t eat them yourself? You’re being a tad bit hypocritical if you’re finding excuses not to eat fruits and vegetables but telling your kids to do it.
As this article by Raisels points out, it’s important for parents to be good role models when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables. It’s also important for families to sit down and eat together every night so that kids see their parents chowing down on fruits and vegetables.
7. Stop Buying Junk Food for Your Kids to Eat
Eating a healthy diet often costs more than eating an unhealthy one. It’s why so many American kitchens are filled with junk food.
But don’t let cost stop you from not encouraging your kids to eat fruits and vegetables!
Find other places in your budget to scale back your spending so that you can stop buying junk food for your kids and start buying them fruits and vegetables instead. It might be the only surefire way to dramatically improve your kids’ eating habits.
Getting Kids to Eat Vegetables and Fruits Doesn’t Have to Be a Struggle
Some parents put very little effort into getting kids to eat vegetables and fruits. They buy vegetables and fruits, try to force their kids to eat them, fail, and then stop trying out of frustration.
This doesn’t have to be the way things go for you. You can use the tricks listed here to get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables without trying too hard. You’ll be amazed by how much more responsive they are to healthy foods when you rethink your approach.
Read our blog for more tips on improving your family’s diet.