Getting Your Kids to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Families, Food and Fitness November 18, 2009 Print Friendly and PDF

Children are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables if they are exposed to them early and often. A common comment by many parents is "my child will not eat fruits and vegetables." Children cannot eat fruits and vegetables, however, if they are not offered. If your child refuses to eat, encourage him or her to try a taste. If the child still refuses, don’t give up. Try offering fruits and vegetables several times before deciding your child dislikes them. Children's taste change as they get older, so keep offering a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

girl not wanting to eat food

  • Be a good role model. Show your child that you eat fruits and vegetables. Watching you eat and enjoy fruits and vegetables is important if you expect your child to eat them.
  • Try different textures. Serve canned, frozen, and fresh. A child who may not eat cooked broccoli may prefer it raw. Serving fruit and vegetables with low-fat dips and salad dressings also may increase their appeal.
  • Let your child pick out fruits and vegetables at the store and then help wash and prepare them. Serve more than one type, and let your child choose.
  • Don't offer favorite foods, such as desserts, as a reward for eating fruits and vegetables. Giving your child ice cream after finishing broccoli teaches him or her that the ice cream is preferable.
  • Teach your child that eating fruits and vegetables will help them grow big and strong. Talk to your child about "eating all their colors." Above all, try to make eating fruits and vegetables enjoyable and fun.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VIEW Thirteen Fun Ways to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables Video


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.