Tips to help Kids Eat Fruit!!
As the sweet berries, cherries and melons come into season, Summer is the perfect opportunity to encourage children to eat more fresh fruit.
Fruits eating is important for over-all health. Rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin C, vitamin A and Folate and essential minerals like Potassium and phosphorous. Fruits are also rich in fibre and prebiotics and help keep our digestive system in order!
Eating fresh fruit (or fresh frozen,) has many proven benefits such as reducing risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke, reducing the risk of some cancers, fighting infections and improving skin and hair health.
Fruit makes a perfect snack as its tasty, filling, low in calories and the energy is released slowly because of its fibre content. This slow release fuels the brain and helps with concentration AND it helps regulates blood sugar levels. This in turn, helps with mood and behaviour.
Fruit is useful in avoiding the high low blood sugars and weight gaining properties of sugary snacks! Encouraging fruit eating in childhood will set good habits for a lifetime.
The sugar in fresh fruit is intrinsic to the plant cells. Intrinsic sugar is much less corrosive to teeth than when the fruit is juiced or processed into fruit gums, freeing the sugar and making ‘non intrinsic sugar’ or free sugar.
It’s only the free sugar from processed fruit, sweets, honey, chocolate, basically ‘actual sugar’ that is included in the guideline maximum daily sugar of 19g aged 4 to 6yrs, 24g aged 7 to 10yrs, 30g aged 11yrs. Fresh fruit is fine!
Tips for helping children eat fruit:
- Eat fruit (they copy you!)
- Have an open fruit bowl policy
- Go fruit picking (strawberry picking, Grannies apple tree, hedgerows. It’s all fab!)
- Have fun with fruit (jamming, making fruit kebabs etc)
- Cut and slice fruit on a serving plate. Somehow prepared fruit is more appealing to kids
- Talk about the fruit in the shops, notice the different colours and textures, where it was grown. Let them pick something out to try
- Try growing some together or buy a fruit plant to nurture
- Choose fruit recipes and cook together
Katie Spencer-Chapman BSc Hond RD
Nutrition and Dietetic Therapy