Veggie It Up!

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Did you know that when fried vegetables are excluded, 30% of children consume less than one serving of vegetables per day? Although every parent knows it is best for their child to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, only 7% of children are consuming the five to nine recommended servings of fruits and veggies daily. The following constitutes a serving of fruits or vegetables:

• 1 medium piece of fruit
• 1/2 cup of fresh, frozen or canned fruit (100% juice only) or vegetables
• 1 cup of raw leafy greens
• 1/4 cup of dried fruit
• 6 ounces (3/4 cup) of 100% fruit or vegetable juice

In addition to precious vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables are also loaded with phytochemicals – plant chemicals that have been shown to fight off diseases and illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, cataracts and other age-related diseases. As a general rule, the more colourful a vegetable or fruit (i.e. purple blueberries, orange sweet potatoes, green broccoli), the more phytochemicals it contains. The goal is to try to have your children’s plate look like a box of Crayola markers!

But My Child is So Picky!
I often hear parents complain that getting fruits and vegetables into their children’s diet is a huge battle they have yet to win. The caretakers of “picky eaters” often guffaw at the thought of their child eating broccoli or green beans. I am here to tell you that it can be done! Research shows that with a calm and consistent approach to eating, you can influence your child’s dietary likes and dislikes and include healthier food options into their daily diet. The key is to introduce a variety of healthy food options in a “kid- friendly” manner. Consider the following tips:

1. Instead of keeping sugary popsicles in your home, why not make your own homemade popsicles from 100% natural fruit juice. When buying juice, be sure to purchase products that are labelled;

• 100% juice
• 100% fruit juice
• 100% pure juice
• 100% juice from concentrate
• 100% apple (or any other fruit) juice.

Products that are labelled fruit drink, fruit beverage, punch, cocktail or “ade” may look and even taste like real juice, but they are likely a mixture of sugar and water.

2. Serve your children cut-up vegetables with dips. Children love to dip their veggies into dressings, hummus (chickpea dip) or creamy guacamole.

3. Sprinkle some cheese and melt over vegetables such as broccoli, green beans or cauliflower.

4. In order to “sneak” more veggies into your child’s diet, steam and purée broccoli, kale or spinach and add to a tomato sauce to serve over pasta.

5. Drizzle dark chocolate over fruit for your little one.

6. Keep cut-up fruits and vegetables in your home for quick “easy-to-grab” options.

7. Switch all your refined grains to wholesome whole grains such as whole grain pasta, bread, cookies and cereal.

In addition to the tips above, refer to the Truestar Kids Section to receive personalized and balanced meals filled with fruits and veggies for your child. Getting your children to eat high quality fruits and vegetables is a practice that can set the stage for a lifetime of health and wellness to flourish.

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