Did you know that eating fruits and vegetables and limiting sugar can make your little one healthier AND smarter??
Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which are all important for brain development, mental health, and physical health!
Children should be eating 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. I'm the mom of 3 girls, one who thinks vegetables is a bad word and eats almost nothing green, so I know it can be hard to get those veggies in, but don't give up. There are lots of ways to do it.
Here are a few tips to help you get those 5 servings a day in:
1. Have ready to eat fruit and veggies available and reachable in the fridge or on the counter top. When it's easy to grab you are more likely to give it to them and as they get older and more independent they will be able to easily grab a healthy choice on their own.
2. Tell your child about the "super powers" that healthy foods give them. For example they give you the strong bones so you can run fast and leap over "tall buildings" or they build your brain so are "super smart" or they give you a special body armor that doesn't allow germs in.
3. Sneak the veggies into a yummy smoothie. I sneak spinach or kale into a yummy fruit smoothie for a great breakfast or snack. Just add milk (I use almond milk), a handful of spinach or kale, fresh or frozen fruit of your choice (I use mixed berries for their antioxidants and 1/2 a banana to give smoothie some thickness), a tbsp of ground flaxseed (great for getting that fiber in and helps control blood sugar levels), and a bit of ice (I use frozen fruit so skip the ice). This recipe will make one big smoothie (adult size - 16 oz) or two smaller sized smoothies. You can even put it in a thermos and send it to school for lunch or snack. It's best to make homemade smoothies as the store bought ones tend to have too much added sugar rather than just the natural sugars, which takes away from the nutrients, plus they are a lot more expensive.
4. Let them help prepare the fruits and veggies. Let them help wash and cut the fruits and veggies. When they participate in making the food they will take ownership and eat it right up!
5. Finally be a good role model. When they see you choosing fruits and veggies over chips and other snacks they will follow your lead.