Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fruit: The secret weapon in parents' nutritional arsenal

Excerpts from an article by ARA in the Creston Iowa News

Parents, let's face it -- the average child will never really fall in love with Brussels sprouts, broccoli or cauliflower. But few kids object to fruit, making it easier to help children tap into its wealth of health benefits.

Fruit fights childhood obesity, according to studies by Tufts and Baylor universities that linked high fruit and vegetable consumption by children with a lower body mass index.

Fruit is naturally low in calories but high in nutrients like immune system boosting vitamin C, water and fiber, which helps children feel fuller and more energized with fewer calories. Federal dietary guidelines recommend five servings of fruit per day.

Here are two tips to help keep fruit exciting and easy for you and your children:

  1. Variety really can be the spice of life when it comes to fruit. Supermarkets now regularly offer exotic fruits that were once only found in top restaurants or specialty shops. So on your next supermarket excursion, allow your child to explore the more unusual fruits and choose one or two to try. You may find they adore star fruit and kumquats as much as apples and bananas.
  2. What child doesn't like a smoothie, especially in summer? While you're whipping up a fruit smoothie for your little one, take the opportunity to slip some other nutritious ingredients into the blender, like raw greens (kids think green smoothies are fun), low-fat yogurt for protein and calcium or flaxseed for fiber.