(Source from healthy eating)
Fruits and vegetables benefit kids in many ways, including improved nutrition, decreased obesity risk and better school performance. Here are some ways:
Children’s growing bodies require good nutrition, and fruits and vegetables contain a multitude of vitamins, minerals and other healthy compounds. Citrus fruits and strawberries are rich in immune system-boosting vitamin C, carrots are loaded with eye-healthy vitamin A and spinach is a good source of iron, a mineral that helps prevent anemia. According to DrGreene.com, apples contain 16 different polyphenols, which are antioxidants with health-promoting properties. Eating fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colors will provide a wide range of nutrients that help keep kids healthy.
Fruits and vegetables are high in filling fiber, but low in fat and calories. Encouraging kids to eat fruits and vegetables instead of sugary snacks and fat-laden fast food can help children avoid obesity. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 16 percent of kids ages 6 to 19 are overweight, increasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory problems and depression. A USDA study of 3,064 kids ages 5 to 18 linked higher fruit consumption to healthier body weights.
High-fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables, help the digestive system function properly. Constipation in kids can often be eased by eating more high-fiber prunes, apricots, plums, peas, beans and broccoli, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. As fiber passes through the digestive system, it absorbs water and expands, which triggers regular bowel movements and relieves constipation.
To increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, shop with your kids and let them prepare vegetable and fruit dishes. A child who makes the green beans himself may be more likely to eat them, notes an article by Elizabeth Cohen, CNN senior medical correspondent. Sneak pureed vegetables into your children’s favorite foods and stock kid-level shelves in the fridge with baggies of cut-up veggies and fruits and fruit cups. Shop organic if you can. If cost is a factor, however, be selective in buying organic, recommends the American Academy of Pediatrics. The most important thing is for kids to eat fruits and vegetables – organic or not.