Does your child eat 2 to 3 servings of fruit daily? Is it a constant battle to get your kids to choose fruit over other more processed “junk” food? Getting your child to eat more fruit can be a challenge, but with some creativity and persistence you can ramp up fruit intake and provide your kids more of the nutrients they need for optimal growth and development.
While breakfast can be a rushed, hectic time, it’s a great time to incorporate fruit. A study by Yale University showed that children who ate low-sugar cereals but had the option of adding sugar or fruit to the cereals consumed less overall sugar and more fruit compared with children who ate a high sugar cereal.
Cereals that include honey, sugar-sweetened, frosted and/or marshmallows are examples of high sugar cereals. Try adding bananas, blueberries, mandarin oranges and strawberries to cereals and oatmeal. Fresh or frozen berries go perfectly with waffle or pancake mix or as a topping. Get creative and mix fruits with yogurt for a smoothie or as a dip for whole grain crackers.
Let’s start with a classic favorite! Peanut butter and jelly can be made with a twist by adding a layer of banana or strawberry slices. Tuna and chicken salads can be made with extra grapes, berries and dried fruits such as raisins or cranberries. Packing a fruit cup or applesauce is an easy upgrade to any packed lunch. Encourage your child to pick the fruit offered at school by explaining the benefits of fruit to the growing body.
Offer your child a side salad that includes dried fruits, strawberries, oranges and blueberries. Use yogurt or cottage cheese as a dressing to add extra flavor instead of high fat dressings that tend to not mix well with fruit. Try marinating and cooking meats with fruits such as pineapple, apples and pomegranates.
Studies have shown that when kids are involved in cooking and meal preparation they are more likely to eat the meal so let your kids choose fruits to add to any dinner. The options are endless!
It is common for eager dieters to dive into a diet plan that excessively restricts calories. These types of diets are extreme and tend not to work in the long run. You want to avoid any diet plan that robs you of energy or makes you want to give up dieting altogether. Practice moderation. Set a reasonable weight loss goal of 1 to 2 pounds per week and give yourself an adequate number of weeks or months to achieve your goal.