5 – Fruits and Vegetables

5 - Fruits and Veggies Header

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A diet rich in fruits and veggies provides vitamins and minerals, important for supporting growth and development, and for optimal immune function in children. Emerging science suggests fruit and vegetable consumption may help prevent weight gain and be an important aid to achieving and sustaining weight loss.

Fun Fruit and Veggie Facts:

  • A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides vitamins and minerals, important for supporting growth and development, and optimal immune function.
  • Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat, making them a healthy choice anytime. It’s important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables-so your plate looks like a rainbow!
  • Adults are role models. If you snack on fruits and veggies, so will your kids.

Information from

Healthy Food Tips for Parents

  • A child’s serving size of fruits and vegetables is about the size of their palm.
  • It’s always best to eat local, in season produce but don’t forget that frozen produce is always available. It’s a healthy choice too!
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of family mealtimes. Take time to sit down together for dinner and other meals.
  • Juice products labeled “-ade,” “drink” or “punch” often only contain 5 percent juice or less. Choose whole fruit over juice or buy 100 percent juice. Also be cautious of the serving size. A serving size for juice is 4-5 oz. for kids ages 1-6.
  • Try the three-bite rule when introducing a new fruit or vegetable. It often can take 7-10 tries before you know you like a new food.
  • Try introducing a new fruit or vegetable with a low-fat salad dressing or yogurt-based dip. Or, add them to foods you already make, like pasta, soup, casseroles, pizza, rice and more.

Information from

10 Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their Fruits and Veggies!

There are more fruits and vegetables available in fresh, frozen, canned and dried forms than ever before. Take the time to introduce a variety of fruits and vegetables so that kids can develop a lifetime of healthy habits!

  1. Keep a bowl of fresh fruits on the counter. Refrigerate cut-up fruits and vegetables in small bags for easy, on-the-run snacks.
  2. Serve fruits and vegetables at every meal. Add grated or cut vegetables into entrees, side dishes, and soups. Top off cereal with fruits or add frozen fruits to smoothies.
  3. Set a good example. Snack on fruit and order salads or vegetable sides with at restaurants.
  4. Pack the refrigerator, freezer and cupboard with pre-cut, frozen and canned vegetables so that it’s easier to prepare meals and snacks that include vegetables.
  5. Challenge family members to reach their daily fruit and vegetables goal. Reward the winner with a prize of his or her choice.
  6. Ask that fruits and vegetables be offered at school functions, after school programs, and in vending machines.
  7. Let children choose which fruits and vegetables to serve, and how to incorporate them into their favorite meal.
  8. Make fruits and vegetables fun. Try dressing up sandwiches with faces and smiles made from fruits and vegetables.
  9. Keep trying. For some foods, it may take multiple times before a child acquires a taste for it.
  10. Encourage friends or relatives to offer vegetables and fruits to your children.

Information from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Healthy Snacks – It’s as Easy as ABC (apples, bananas and cheese)

No prep snacks:

  • Whole, frozen or dried fruit
  • Apple Sauce
  • Nuts
  • String Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Cereal (whole grain)
  • Pretzels, popcorn or baked chips (remember to stick to the recommended servings)
  • Granola bars

Is your child on a sports team? Check out these tips on Healthy Eating for Sports!

Information from

Breakfast Is Best!

  • Start your day by fueling up your body!
  • Eating a healthy breakfast daily can improve concentration in school, behavior and help with weight control.
  • Examples of a quick, healthy breakfast:
    • Low fat fruited yogurt
    • Toast with peanut butter
    • Oatmeal
    • Cereal with low-fat milk
    • Add a glass of low-fat milk to any breakfast!

Information from


  • Let’s Go! is a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program implemented throughout Maine and in a few communities in neighboring states.
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension – Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Chesterfield County Public Schools Food Services
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • Fruits and Vegetables calculator: Here you can calculate fruit and vegetable recommendations based on the calorie needs for your age, gender and activity level.
    • What counts as a cup: This visual example of what counts as a cup helps simplify the answer.
    • MyPlate Info: find out and receive a customized Daily Food Plan.
  • USDA Choose MyPlate
    • Info on Fruits
      • What’s in the Fruit Group?
      • How Much is Needed?
      • What Counts as a Cup?
      • Health Benefits and Nutrients
      • Tips to Help You Eat Fruits
    • Info on Vegetables
      • What’s in the Vegetable Group?
      • How Much Is Needed?
      • What Counts as a Cup?
      • Health Benefits and Nutrients
      • Tips to Help You Eat Vegetables
      • Beans and Peas Are Unique Foods
  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation
      The Alliance for a Healthier Generation is a catalyst for children’s health that works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier kids. Resources include videos, printables, websites and curricula to assist in making healthy changes at schools and out-of-school settings.
  • Let’s Move
    • America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids (sponsored by U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, U.S. Dept. of Education, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, U.S. Dept. of the Interior and the White House).
  • USDA Dietary Guidelines
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Virginia is For Lovers Food Festivals