Tips

Fruit Tips

Try to buy fresh fruit that is in season, but remember that canned and frozen fruits are also healthy choices for you and your family.

Fruit drink or fruit juice? Many of the fruit "drinks" on the grocery store shelves contain added sugar and very few nutrients. Although these drinks are okay to have on some occasions, juices marked "100% fruit juice" are the best choice. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests 6 oz. of 100% juice for a child everyday.

Can a Child Drink Too Much Juice?

If you have a picky eater, too much juice or sugar-flavored beverages before a meal can depress her or his appetite. Instead, offer cold water to your thirsty child. At meals, milk is the best choice.

Is Your Child Getting Enough Fruit?

Fruit provides you and your child with many nutrients like fiber and vitamin C. According to government surveys, many young children are not eating enough fruit.At least two fruits each day is what both you and your child need for good health. Try two of the following each day:

OJ with breakfast
Sliced apples with lunch
Banana and peanut butter sandwich (Peanut butter layered lightly)
Canned peaches with supper

Let Your Child Choose Portion Sizes

Children should choose their own portion size at any meal or snack. So you may have to offer fruit several times a day to reach the total suggested below. Each day, a child four to six years old should try to eat at least 2 of the following. A child two to three years old will eat less.

1 piece of fruit
3/4 cup of juice
cup of canned fruit
cup of dried fruit

For recommended portion sizes, see our Portion Sizes Chart.

Helpful Hints for Introducing New Foods

A good way to increase the variety of foods that young children eat is to involve them in tasting new foods.

Here are some general reminders.

Check children's records for food allergies and avoid these foods.
Always start by having children wash their hands.
Allow enough time so that taste-testing is not hurried.
Cut up food into bite-size pieces and let children serve themselves.
Taste along with children to be a positive role model.
Let children know in advance what kind of behavior you expect. They should be allowed to say "no thank you" but not "yuck."
Place children who are more open to trying new foods next to more reluctant tasters.
Notice when children taste a new food and do not make a fuss if they will not try it.

To create an activity that will inspire exploration and talking about food tastes, use our Combine Taste-Testing with Charting Activity.

Make Food and Health a Part of Everyday Conversation

Children can begin learning about nutrition and health by hearing new words. Mealtime is a great time to sneak in some nutrition wisdom. Here are examples:

"This bread has vitamins in it which help us grow and stay healthy."

"Vegetables and fruits have lots of vitamins which keep our blood and muscles healthy. Also the skin of fruits and veggies have fiber, and fiber helps us go to the bathroom."

"Meat, beans, and eggs have protein to help our muscles grow. We also have to exercise to keep our bones and muscles strong and healthy."

"Milk has calcium to help our bones grow and stay hard."

Guard Against Choking!
    Watch children while they eat.