“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We all know this by heart from our childhood, as this was intended to encourage kids to eat healthily. Even until our adulthood, this saying still rings very true. We all need the nourishment and nutrients that fruits offer.
Parents want nothing but good health for their children. This is why they make sure that their kids eat right, sleep well, exercise regularly, and visit a pediatric dentist or a pediatrician to ensure great health.
Why Should Kids Eat More Fruits?
One of the simplest ways a parent can help a child become healthier is to teach them how to love eating fruits as part of their diet. The inclusion of fruits in a child’s diet has several benefits. Here are some of them:
Fruits are low in calories and fats.
Due to an unhealthy diet, one in three children are obese or grow up to develop this condition because of all the processed foods and snacks they eat. Eating fruits lowers one’s caloric intake, which leads to the prevention of unhealthy weight gain.
Fruits are a good source of fiber.
Many kids aren’t getting enough fiber in their diet. This is why there are plenty of children who have poor digestive systems. Fruits are a great fiber source, thus helping develop a healthier digestive system.
Fruits contain plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Fruits are a great source of vitamins and minerals that help boost one’s immune system. These nutrients are needed for a child’s proper growth and development.
Fruits help boost a child’s academic performance.
A well-balanced diet — that is, eating healthily — supports a child’s brain development. Proper brain development allows kids to pick up new ideas and concepts easily and perform better in school.
How Much Fruit Should Kids Eat in a Day?
Ideally, kids should have their daily dose of fruits to help build stronger immune systems and healthier bodies. The question now is how much fruit should be served to them in a day. Below is a list of the recommended daily fruit intake for children, broken up into different age groups.
- Ages 2 to 3 years – Children around this age should have no less than at least one cup of fruits in a day.
- Ages 4 to 8 years – As kids grow older, the serving size will also grow bigger. Kids who are 4 to 8 years old should be getting anywhere between one and one and a half cups of fruits in a day.
- Girls aged 9 to 13 years – Ideally, girls who are between 9 and 13 years old should not go below one and a half cups of fruits a day.
- Girls aged 14 to 18 years – As girls get to their teenage years, there is not much difference in the recommended daily fruit intake. They should still be getting their one and a half cups of fruits daily.
- Boys aged 9 to 13 years – Similar to girls in this age group, little boys should also get at least a cup and a half of fruits in one day.
- Boys aged 14 to 18 years – As boys are built differently from teenage girls, they will require a bit more than their female counterparts. Young teenage boys should be getting a daily fruit intake of between one and a half and two cups.
How Can Parents Encourage Their Kids to Eat More Fruits?
Making kids eat fruits may be more challenging to some parents. Here are some things that parents can do that will encourage their kids to eat fruits regularly:
Get them involved with meal planning and preparations. Children tend to get more excited about something, including eating fruits and vegetables, if they feel they are a big part of the entire process.
Be a good example. If parents have good and healthy eating habits, kids will likely pick this up and follow their parents’ example.
Improve your plate presentation. Sometimes, the challenge lies in the way food is presented. Presentation matters. Your plating doesn’t have to be on the same level as Michelin-rated restaurants. It just has to be visually interesting to entice your child to enjoy their fruits.
Include fruits in your meals as much as possible. Perhaps one of the easiest ways parents can get their kids to eat more fruits is to give them no options of avoiding it.
Never give up on it. Lastly, no matter how challenging it may be, don’t give up on them. Continue looking for ways to entice your kids to eat fruits. Be creative, do your research. Diligence will get you far.
Including fruits in your children’s diets will serve them well as they grow up. Build this habit up as early into childhood as you can. They surely won’t depart from it as they get older.