How to Get Your Kids to Eat More Fruit
Tons of helpful tips on how to get your kids
to eat more fruit!
Most Americans don’t eat enough fruit. Despite efforts by the USDA to educate people about the benefits of eating fruit, recent studies found that only one third of Americans eat two servings of fruit daily.
The recommendation, according to the USDA’s food pyramid, is to eat two to four servings of fruit per day.
What constitutes a serving of fruit? One serving of fruit can be obtained by eating one half cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit, one medium sized piece of fruit, one quarter cup of dried fruit, or three quarters cup of fruit juice. Note that fruit juice must be one hundred percent fruit juice to satisfy this daily requirement.
No one disputes that eating fruit is good for your health. Fruit is naturally low in fat and salt, and high in fiber. Most fruits are good sources of Vitamins A and C, and often provide other essential nutrients or minerals such as iron, folate, or potassium. Fruit is sweet, delicious, juicy, and versatile. So why don’t people eat more?
If you have kids, then you know the answer. Kids reach for what is cleverly packaged, and what they see advertised on television. They reach for salty, sweet, and fatty snacks, and they become habituated to junk food. When kids develop bad eating habits they are likely to hold these habits throughout life. Poor eating habits can wreak havoc on health. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancer are directly associated with poor eating habits.
As a parent, you can help your children to develop good eating habits. It’s never too late to start, even if you have intractable teens. Try some of the following suggestions to increase your children’s fruit consumption. Note that some of these methods might be considered stealthy. Go ahead, sneak fruit into their diets, if that’s what it takes.
Helpful Tips on How to Get your Kids to Eat More Fruit
- Cut up a plate of fruit and leave on the kitchen counter at eye level where it can be easily reached.
- If your kids eat cereal, toss a handful of raisins, fresh berries, or a sliced banana on top.
- On cold mornings, make hot oatmeal cooked with raisins and diced apples. Add brown sugar and wheat germ and it will be both healthy and delicious.
- When making pancakes, waffles, or French toast, add fresh fruit. Mix blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries into pancake and waffle batter, or top French toast with sliced strawberries. If you don’t have fresh berries, frozen will work just as well. • Buy a good quality of fruit preserves or jam. Check the label to ensure that fruit is the main ingredient. Use liberally on toast.
- Serve pancakes or French toast with a generous amount of fruit preserves and a very small amount of syrup. This cuts down on sugar tremendously.
- Lacking berries, serve pancakes with a side dish of warm applesauce.
- Mix yogurt with fresh berries and a spoonful of honey.
MAKE YOUR OWN FRESH BLUEBERRY SYRUP:
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups blueberries
1/2 tsp. vanilla
In a medium sauce pan, bring the blueberries, maple syrup, and vanilla to a light boil. Let cook for about 3-4 minutes. Serve over pancakes or French toast.
Make fruit smoothies part of your morning routine. Throw ice and some fruit juice into a blender. Peel and chop your fruit of choice. Try mango, berries, peaches, melon, papaya, or banana. Add fruit sorbet, or yogurt, and blend for a delicious shake. Your kids will adore drinking bright purple, orange, or pink shakes.
If you bake, whip up fruit muffins on the weekend. Find a basic muffin recipe, and experiment with your own fruit combinations. Try pumpkin-apple muffins, blueberry-pineapple, or walnut-peach-raspberry. On busy mornings, simply heat and serve. Your kids will wolf them down.
Small children love mini-sized cups of things. Give them small cups of applesauce or mandarin oranges. Fill a mini-cup with grapes, cherries, or fresh berries.
Individual sized boxes of raisins are well received by the elementary aged group, so pack them into lunch boxes. Older kids might need something more exciting. How about dried cranberries, or yogurt covered raisins?
After school, offer plenty of fruit choices. Create your own trail mix loaded with healthy ingredients. Mix granola, chopped nuts, and a variety of chopped dried fruit. Dried pineapple, mango, apple, apricot, or date are all delicious fruits to try. Trail mix is a crowd pleasing snack.
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple in 100% pineapple juice (do not drain)
1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a 13 x 9 inch pan, melt butter in oven. Remove from oven and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over melted butter. In a large bowl, beat together the two eggs. Add cake mix, can of pineapple (undrained) and sour cream.
Mix according to package directions. Pour cake batter on top of butter/sugar mixture. Bake according to package directions.
*We used Dole Pineapple
* Do not follow the directions on the cake box
- Put out a bowl where kids are watching television, or pack some along for a boost of energy during an after school sports practice.
- Serve sliced apples spread with peanut butter, and watch the slices disappear!
- Slice 3 bananas and put in the freezer for about an hour. Remove from freezer and throw in your food processor. Process until it forms an ice creamy like texture. Add a smidge of chocolate sauce for a topping.
- Try apples sliced and served with cheddar cheese and whole wheat crackers for your more sophisticated teens.
- Grapes are widely enjoyed by all ages. They are easy to eat, and easy to pack. Send them along with your young athletes for a light, juicy, and refreshing snack. If it’s a very hot day, lay grapes on a piece of waxed paper and freeze. Once frozen, place grapes into individual baggies and store in the freezer until ready to use. This makes a great snack for a hot afternoon sport.
MAKE A PLATE OF FRUIT KABOBS
YUMMY FRUIT DIP
1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow crème
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
In a medium bowl, whip the cream cheese using a fork. Add the whipped topping, marshmallow creme, mix until smooth. Serve chilled.
HEALTHY FRUIT DIP
1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
1 cup fresh raspberries
Puree the raspberries in a food processor and fold into the yogurt.
DIP THAT KID’S LOVE
1 container of Lemon Greek Yogurt
2 Tablespoons honey
1/8 tsp. salt
At dinner time, there are many opportunities to include fruit.
- Why not start dinner with a fruit appetizer? A portion of sliced melon makes a simple and delicious starter.
- Serve a beautiful fruit salad as a starter or with your main course. Wash, peel, and cut into bite sizes colorful varieties of your favorite fruits. Try melon, mango, kiwi, nectarine, plum, pineapple, grapes, or fresh berries. Bursting with color and flavor, fruit salad is sure to be a favorite with everyone.
- Toss fruit into green salads. Halved grapes, raisins, mandarin orange sections, dried cranberries, or other dried fruit, all add interesting sweetness and texture to your regular greens.
- If you make a cole slaw, add fresh or canned pineapple to it for an unusual sweet flavor.
- If serving pork, prepare baked apples as a side dish. Simply remove the stem and core without cutting all the way through the bottom of the apple. Sprinkle brown sugar inside and dot with butter. Bake on moderate heat until softened for a delicious and nutritious dish.
- Add fruit to stir fried foods. Mango, plum, and pineapple are particularly good choices.
- Add halved grapes to a chicken salad. Add cooked fresh cranberries to a turkey salad.
- Fruit is a natural part of dessert. For a quick, delicious, and nutritious dessert, remove stem and pits of sweet dark cherries and serve over ice cream.
- Serve fresh berries and whipped cream, with or without the shortcake.
- If you make jello, wait until the jello begins to set, and then add soft-textured fruit. Try slices of banana, pineapple, mango, peach, or berries.
- Pie can be very good for you. How about baking a cherry or blueberry pie, or making an apple crisp? Kids can have their mouths full of fruit and hardly notice.
- Let them eat cake! Particularly if it includes fruit. Make a carrot cake to which you’ve added diced apples and golden raisins.
- Bake an angel food cake topped with fresh whipped cream and decorated with luscious seasonal berries, or dark sweet cherries.
- Poached pears are an elegant dessert. Bring water sweetened with honey, vanilla, and a squeezed orange to a boil. Add peeled and quartered pears and gently simmer for ten to fifteen minutes until tender. Cool pears, and spoon the thickened liquid over the top. Sprinkle with dried currants or cranberries.
Of course, continue to offer your classic selection of fruit. Set out a bowl of attractively arranged fruit in plain sight. Make sure to make it an interesting eye-catching variety. Refresh and rearrange the fruit bowl daily.
As you see there are many ways to increase the amount of fruit in your children’s diet. Develop the habit of keeping a selection of fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits available. Reach for them every time you prepare snacks or meals for your family.
By adding a little fruit here and there throughout the day, you can increase your family’s consumption of fruit significantly. Before you know it, your children will easily be eating the recommended daily allowance of fruit everyday.
EASY BREAKFAST FRUIT SMOOTHIE
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 cup orange juice
1 cup blueberries or sliced strawberries
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon honey
Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Save some strawberry or banana slices for garnish. Makes 2-3 healhty servings.