Food Menu For Children 12 Months To 2 Years Old 5 Ways to Add Easy Vegetable and Fruits to Your Child’s Diet

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5 Ways to Add Easy Vegetable and Fruits to Your Child’s Diet

We’ve all heard the US Department of Agriculture’s “5 A Day” slogan for years. But did you know that the recommendation has been increased to 7 to 13 servings per day? That can seem overwhelming to the average parent!

Why do we need so many fruits and vegetables anyway?

Fruits and vegetables are full of important nutrients that can help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

DID YOU KNOW:

1. More than 20 million children and adults have diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association.

2. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 64% of adults are overweight.

3. According to the American Heart Association, more than 80 million Americans have some form of heart disease.

4. According to the Bogalusa Heart Study, by the age of 12, about 70% of our children have developed the initial stages of hardening of the arteries.

5. Almost 50% of obese teenagers remain obese as adults according to the International Journal of Obesity.

These are amazing facts!

Make sure you and your family are on the right path to better health with these 5 ways to add easy vegetables and fruits to your diet:

1. SNACKING: Be sure to keep fresh fruits and vegetables on hand on the LOWER shelf of your refrigerator for easy access by the kids. Make an appetizing after-school snack like Ants on a Log (celery with peanut butter and raisins) or Potted Plants (a small bowl of hummus with baby carrots sticking out and parsley on top for “leaves”) Kids LOVE fun foods! Why do you think they sell so many foods with cartoons on them?

2. MIRROR: Let your children see YOU eating vegetables and fruits. The more children see parents eating healthy foods, the more they will model that behavior. “Do as I say, not as I do” model DOESN’T WORK! You need fruits and vegetables every day just like they do. So, EAT!

3. COOKING: Simply adding a handful of vegetables to an omelet or some berries to oatmeal can be an easy way to add more produce to your diet. Try adding pureed carrots and squash to spaghetti sauce or make smoothies with low-fat yogurt, berries, ice, and even some green vegetables like kale and cucumber. (My kids drink this right up and they would NEVER eat kale on its own! I even make the smoothies into popsicles in the summer months.)

4. GARDENING: Planting a garden in the backyard is a terrific way to get the kids involved in what they eat. Growing vegetables gives children a sense of pride and encourages them to eat what they have grown. My kids can’t wait to get into the garden and pick fresh veggies and herbs for our summer dinners!

5. MEAL PLANNING: Make it a priority when planning meals to include as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Serve a vegetable soup or side salad with your meal or a fruit cup with frozen yogurt for dessert. Make kabobs for the grill or roast root vegetables in the oven for a delicious side dish.

Making simple changes to your family’s diet will not only improve their health, it will improve their happiness as well.

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