How Do I Get My Kids to Eat Fruits and Vegetables?

The struggle is real when it comes to trying to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. We are sharing our realistic tips for ways to work more produce into meals, as well as suggestions and recipe ideas for kid friendly fruit and vegetables dishes.

The Importance of Fruits and Vegetables for Kids

I think we all know by now that eating a wide array of fruits and vegetables is an important part of a balanced, healthy diet and lifestyle.

Different colored fruits and veggies offer an assortment of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are all responsible for helping different areas of growth, development and function in the body. Kids need these nutrients found in fruits and veggies for –

  • eye and vision health
  • building a strong immune system
  • bone, teeth and muscle development and growth
  • heart, lung and brain health
  • supporting all the different functions in the body
  • skin, muscle, tissue, and cell health, function and repair

Unfortunately, the majority of kids in America aren’t getting anywhere near their daily recommended intake of fruits or vegetables. According to the CDC, fruit intake is a bit higher than veggie intake for kids, but both are still lacking across the board.

Things to Remember when Trying to Give Kids More Fruits and Veggies

Before we share some recipes and practical tips for getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, we think it’s important to highlight a few things to remember.

Since everyone is different, including kids, some of the below information may be helpful, while some might not apply to your specific situation. Pick and choose what you think will work for you and your family.

get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables

Some things to remember –

  • Get the kids involved – them them know the importance of fruits and veggies and why you are trying to increase their intake
  • Be consistent – eating habits don’t change overnight, so don’t expect your kids to suddenly love eating all the fruits and veggies. Change takes time. Tastes change on a daily basis. Keep trying, don’t give up.
  • Try introducing new foods earlier in the day rather than at dinner. Kids are more likely to try something new in the morning or afternoon compared to evening.
  • Don’t make it a huge deal if they like or don’t like something. No need to throw a party when you kids eat a certain veggie or get mad when they don’t. Tying too much emotion to fruits and vegetables can stress them out.

Tips for Getting Kids to Eat more Fruits and Vegetables

The following are some general ways you can try and introduce more fruits and veggies to your kids. Further below that, you can find some specific kid friendly recipes that use fruits and veggies.

  1. Keep cut up fruits and veggies in the fridge for kids to grab quickly. This also is visually appealing to kids which might help increase intake
  2. Add fresh fruit to cereal and yogurt
  3. Try different dips with fresh fruit and with cut up veggies. Ranch, hummus, a fruit based dip made of yogurt and cream cheese, there are so many great ones out there.
  4. Try making “kebobs” – kids love eating things off of sticks. Fruit kebobs and brightly colored veggie kebobs are also visually appealing to little ones
  5. Let fruit and veggies be “anytime” snacks. If you kid complains of being hungry, let them grab and apple, mandarin orange, some carrot sticks, etc. I find having some mini apples and mandarin oranges (when in season) in a bowl on the table is not only easy for them to grab themselves but seeing it reminds them it’s there
  6. Try out different smoothie recipes. This is a great way to add some new fruits but also makes it possible to add a few veggies in as well (i.e. a little spinach). We keep a whole bunch of frozen fruit in our freezer and play around with flavor combinations. Examples include pineapple, mango, strawberry, blueberry, açaí, cherries, cranberries, frozen bananas, etc.
  7. Experiment with different preparation methods. Not everyone will like certain veggies prepared one way but might like the flavor of another cooking style. You can try raw veggies, but also roasting, baking, air frying, grilling, blanching, and steaming. Play around with different flavors too.
  8. Veggies don’t have to be seen to be included. You can add them to favorite foods like mushrooms or bell peppers to spaghetti sauce, meatballs, or lasagna. They can be pureed and added into soups. Shredded carrots make a great addition to sloppy joes.
  9. Try DIY style meals where the kids can pick their own toppings. For example, a DIY taco bar where they can pick their own toppings in always fun. Toppings could include shredded lettuce, tomatoes, olives, black or refried beans, shredded cheese, sautéed bell peppers and avocado. The point is to let them try what looks interesting to them and not try to force them to t

Fruit and Vegetable Recipes for Kids

The following are some of our favorite recipes that just so happen to include a few fruits and veggies.

All the recipes can be customizable and include some of your children’s favorite fruits and/or vegetables.

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Last modified: May 5, 2022


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