Fruit and a healthy diet

Fruit is naturally sweet and one of the first flavors children may get. Kids learn to like fruit from a tender age but many children don't get enough. Why does it go wrong?

Fruit is the easy way towards a healthy diet

Most children like fruit. Many young kids will much happily on grapes, a banana, strawberries, or an apple; as long as they are conveniently clean, stems removed, peeled, sliced, and have no seeds. The problem comes when kids grow and mom thinks, rightfully, that it is time to stop doing the preparation for them. Many would not even eat a banana because they need to peel it. Even those kids that were happy to wash and bite an apple may lose the good habit when they get braces and apple biting is forbidden - the wires may break.

Take advantage when children are young and want to do everything you do. Encourage them to be active in the kitchen, to get in the peeling and chopping habit as much as it is safe for their ages. Young children can help if the tools are the right size for their hands. Kids active in the kitchen are active kids for everything else, from homework to sports. They learn how to manage a task from beginning to end, plan every step and develop good timing.

Fruit juice, frozen, canned, or dried fruit also count towards your five a day. Teach your kids how to use the citrus press, and the juicer later. They will prefer to pour juice out of a carton – and you may too - but you know it may have more sugar than it is healthy, especially if it is made from concentrate. Although ready made juice is better than no fruit, aim to make your own juice as often as possible.

Canned fruit is ready to eat and the only work is to open the can. Stores sell pots full of lovely prepared fruit, really convenient. Use them but don’t forget the fruit that needs the elbow work. Canned fruit does not have as many vitamins and as fruit deteriorates quickly once peeled, so those pots won’t have as many vitamins either. Do half and half, mix a can of cocktail fruit with some apple or pear pieces and fresh tangerine segments to whip up a quick fruit salads that has the best of both worlds.

Cooking is fun and creative, so it will not be difficult to have kids help. But don’t forget they should also help to tidy up.

You can use dried fruit as a quick snack, or a fruity addition to a bowl of cereal, but it comes to its best in baking and cooking. Cakes and muffins, always a treat, become a healthier one if they have some fruit bits within. Curries benefit from raisins and other pieces of dried fruit, why don’t you try a curry today?

try to keep fruit in the menu. Fruit is healthy and the easy way to a balanced diet and a disease free life.