Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a child’s healthy lifestyle.
Fresh fruits and vegetables can be powerful medicine for the whole family, particularly children. Foods that are grown and consumed during their appropriate seasons not only taste better, they also provide the best nutritional value, because seasonal foods don’t have to travel as far to get from the farm to your kitchen.
On average, children should eat 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Dr. Ellen Lestz, pediatrician with White Plains Hospital Physician Associates, says creating your child’s diet around a rainbow of fruits and vegetables will not only keep them interested in eating better, it offers powerful protection against viruses and can help build their immune systems.
Here are some colorful facts about your fruits and vegetables to share with your children:
- Green: One of the most important colors in the food rainbow. Green leafy vegetables like kale, cabbage and broccoli are high in calcium, fiber, folate, magnesium and potassium to promote digestion and bone growth.
- Orange: Peppers, citrus fruits, carrots, butternut squash… these foods provide loads of vitamin C, an important defense against infection.
- Blue and Purple: Foods like blueberries and eggplant can help enhance memory and support healthy weight management.
- Yellow: Your kids will go bananas when they learn the soft yellow fruit helps build strong bones and can improve their eyesight.
To get more fruit in your child’s diet, try blending them into a smoothie,” says Dr. Lestz. “To get your picky eater to consume more veggies, serve them with a side of low-fat salad dressing, or dips like guacamole and hummus, to enhance their taste. Don’t forget to set a good example by joining them! Eating five or more servings a day of fruits and vegetables for adults can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.”