We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is good for us. It helps reduce our risk of disease by giving us a range of essential nutrients and dietary fibre. Their great taste and eye appeal can also help entice children to eat more of them.
How much fruit and vegetables should my child eat?
It’s important that your children eat a range of fruit and vegetables every day. The amount they need will vary, depending on their age, appetite and level of physical activity.
The chart below sets out the recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables for kids and teens.
Source: The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
One serve of fruit is 150 grams; one serve of vegetables is 75 grams.
Go for 2&5® is a government campaign that encourages everyone, as a general rule, to eat two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day. For more information, visit …Go for 2&5 website (new window).
Tips for encouraging your child to eat fruit and vegetables
Be a good role model – your children will follow your example. Include fruit and vegetables at most meals and snacks – for example, on top of breakfast cereal, fruit or veggie sticks in a lunchbox or as part of stir fries.
Offer a wide range of fruit and vegetables to your children and keep offering them even if they are refused or disliked. It can take some kids up to 10 goes before they come around.
Add fruit and vegetables to your favourite recipes – for example, in pasta sauces and soups – and use in different ways (raw, mashed, sticks and grated). Take your kids shopping with you so they can see and explore all the different coloured fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetable markets are always lots of fun too. Involve your child in washing and preparing fruit and vegetables.
The fruit and vegetables you choose will depend on your child’s preferences, what’s in season and what your budget allows - see also related link: Buying Seasonal Produce. Fresh is best but there’s nothing wrong with canned (low salt), dried and frozen fruit and vegetables. They can also be stored for long periods, which means you’ll always have something on hand if you don’t have fresh produce in the house.
Be creative with presentation and remember to offer a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to your kids. This will encourage them to love them for life.