Monday, November 15, 2010

Fantastic Fruitty Fruit (and Veggies Too)!

Fruit and Veggie Cutting Set
With all the nice apples and pears, etc. available this
season of the year I thought of this fruitty post.

Fruitty Flash Cards
Wood Cutting Fruit

Play Fruit Stand

Flannel Veggies (scroll down the pages)

Fruit and Veggie Counting Tins

Fruit and Veggie Three Part Cards

Fruit and Veggie Shakers (musical instruments)
  Sorting Fruit
Fruit and vegetables are a rich source of vitamins and minerals essential to your child's health and development. They also contain "anti-oxidants" and fibre which will protect your child against developing heart disease and cancers in the future.

Healthy patterns of eating set at a young age ensure that good habits are carried into adulthood. In short, if your child learns good habits at a young age he or she is far more likely to be a healthy adult.

The recommended intake of fruit and vegetables for children and adults is 5 portions a day. Getting the kids to eat fruit and vegetables however can sometimes seem like an uphill battle.

You do not need to give your child 5 adult portions a day from babyhood. A small explosion may ensue if you did. However, their diet should be balanced and should contain a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. A good way to measure a child's portion is what fits into the palm of the child's hand.

Fresh fruit and vegetables contain the highest concentration of vitamin C but frozen, dried and tinned fruit and veg still contain plenty of goodness and the full quota of fibre and therefore count towards your daily quota.

Here are a few hints:

1. Set the example by doing it yourself-kids copy their parents. Also there is new research to show that babies whose mother has eaten wide variety different foods while pregnant develop wider and more adventurous tastes for food as children. It would seem that sense of taste could "transfer" while the baby is still developing.

2. Encourage kids to try everything that is on their plate but don't force them to finish it. Kids have heightened sense of taste compared to adults, therefore bitter veg such as broccoli and spinach can be difficult to enjoy. Research show that repeated exposure to a taste accustoms the taste buds and increases the chance of the child eating it. This can take over 10 attempts. Don't put child off by forcing them to finish, but do encourage them to try.

3. Get the kids involved in choice of what they eat. Take them shopping and let them choose the fruit and veg and help plan the menus and help with the cooking. Not only does this encourage them to eat what they have produced but it develops them an essential life skill.

4. Letting the kids grow their own veg can be really inspirational for them. Not only do they taste better than those shop bought items and you know that they are not coated in insecticide but they kids get exercise while helping in the garden. If you have a small garden or nothing at all, it is possible to grow veg in pots on the patio or on the window sill.

5. Make the food into fun shapes on the plate-grated cabbage or carrot makes great hair, slices of tomato or cucumber can be eyes for example. Use loads of colour. This not only makes the plate look more attractive but ensures that the kids are getting a wider variety of vitamins and nutrients

6. Hide fruit and veg in their favourite dish-try chopping carrots up into spaghetti sauce or setting fruit into a jelly. Use low sugar jelly if possible.

7. Play a game. I spy can be tweaked a little. For instance you might say "I spy with my little eye something that rabbits like to eat" and rather than answering the kids have to take a mouthful of the lettuce leaf on their plate. The first person to finish their mouthful gets to go next.

8. Try threading fresh fruit onto a kebab stick or open freezing grapes for a summer fruit snack.

9. Fresh fruit smoothies are a great way to get your kids eating fruit. Make your smoothie sugar free. A glass of juice counts as a portion, however beware that no matter how much juice you drink in a day, it only counts as a single portion. Fresh juice concentrates are also high in sugar, so make sure you dilute it.

10. Make a competition in the family to see who can eat the most portions of fruit and vegetables in a week and then reward the winner with a small treat.

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