What do blueberries, kiwis, strawberries, and carrots have in common? They are colorful sources of nutrients! The emphasis this National Nutrition Month is to eat right with color so here are some easy tips to help you add some healthy color to your child’s day.
Offer your children colorful healthy choices for snacks. Orange wedges are easy for small fingers to manipulate and fast to prepare. Kids can help make celery sticks with peanut butter and raisin “ants”. Watermelon and cantaloupe chunks are perfect finger foods for small hands.
Pack colorful fruit and veggie snacks to go. Vegetables like baby carrots, cucumber slices and broccoli trees travel well. Dip apple slices in orange juice to keep them from turning brown. Red and green grapes make a quick sweet treat - just be sure to cut them in half to prevent choking in young children. Raisins and other dried fruits are good emergency reserves for the car.
Making fruits and vegetables fun can help your child eat more of them. Make up silly names like moon shooters for cherry tomatoes. Spell your child’s name using fruit or vegetables- for example an ABBY salad could be apple, banana, blueberry, and yellow pineapple. Let them make robots on sticks using cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, and peppers.
Use fruits and vegetables to teach other concepts. Counting games can be done with any small fruit or vegetable. Blueberries, raisins, peas, dried apricots, and apple pieces are all easy for toddlers to grasp. Teach your child their colors using red, purple, and green grapes, diced yellow and orange peppers, and blueberries. Read books to your child that feature fruits and vegetables like “The Hungry Caterpillar.”
And most important - children learn by watching the adults around them so be a good role model. Make sure your behavior is something you want copied. Snack on colorful fruits and vegetables yourself this month to help celebrate National Nutrition Month!
Christine Sloop is a registered dietitian with the Nutrition Council.
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