Next to the most popular fruit—apples—kids get a lot of their fruit from juices. Consumer Reports says fruit juices aren’t the best choice because they have less fiber and more calories and sugar than fruit. So here are CR’s tips for getting your kids to eat more whole fruit.
One: Let them pick. Whether it’s at the store or during a trip to a farmers market, children are more likely to try something new if they choose it themselves.
Two: Make it irresistible. Pack fruit in an interesting way—sliced and packed in a cute container or served kebab-style! And kids are more likely to try a new fruit when it’s with something they already enjoy, so it’s a good idea to mix it up, especially if they like one fruit over another. Combine bananas with blueberries or apples with pears.
Three: Smooth moves. Fruit is SO much more fun in a fresh smoothie made with low-fat or fat-free milk or plain yogurt. And there’s an added benefit to eating blended fruits. Smoothies are better than drinking juice because you get the fiber that’s in the fruit.
Four: A good rule is “fruit first.” Before allowing candy, chips, or other less-than-healthy snacks, urge kids to have some fruit first. Chances are the urge for the unhealthy snack will subside.
When friends come over, it’s a good idea to put out bowls of fruit. If you serve clementines or some cut-up peaches, your guests will gobble those up and forget about anything else.
And maybe the most important way to get more fruit in your child’s diet? Set an example yourself.
And how much fruit should our children be getting? CR says those under 4 should eat one cup per day. For children 4 to 13, a cup and a half per day is ideal, and kids 14 to 18 should have two cups of fruit per day. Bon appétit!