Welcome to Theme 3: Choose to Boost Veggies and Fruit
This theme encourages kids and families to make vegetables and fruit a part of every meal and snack. Veggies and fruit contain important vitamins, minerals and fibre. Kids need these nutrients to stay healthy. Reaching for vegetables and fruit throughout the day will help kids get at least 5 servings a day. This is the amount recommended by Canada’s Food Guide.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends that children:
- Eat a mix of different vegetables and fruit each day. Kids should eat a least one dark green (like broccoli, romaine lettuce, green peas and spinach) and one orange vegetable (like sweet potatoes carrots and winter squash) each day.
- Choose vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt. Vegetables that are steamed, baked or stir-fried are better than deep fried.
- Have whole vegetables and fruit more often than juice. Fruit juice contains as much sugar (though from naturally occurring fruit sugars rather than added sugar) and calories as soft drinks.
How can families choose to boost veggies and fruit at home?
- Expose children to a mix of different vegetables and fruits when they are young. Research shows that kids who eat veggies and fruit as toddlers are much more likely to do so later in childhood.
- Children learn about food by watching others. Research shows that children are more likely to meet the recommended vegetable and fruit intake when they see parents and other role models eating these foods often.
- Plan meals around vegetables.
- Kids are more likely to eat veggies and fruits when these foods are made available and accessible at home.
- Think vegetables and fruit at snack time. Have “grab and go” veggies and fruit ready for snacks. When Ontario parents serve raw vegetables and fruit as snacks to their children between meals, those children were almost 5 times more likely to meet recommended guidelines.
- Studies with Ontario parents show that when families eat meals together, away from the TV, children are 67% more likely to eat the recommended servings of vegetables and fruit.
- Get kids involved in meal planning and preparation. Children who help prepare meals at home tend to eat more vegetables and fruit. These children were also better at choosing and eating healthy foods for themselves.
- Think about starting a garden or get involved in a community garden. Research shows that kids who grow their own veggies and fruit are more likely to taste and eat these foods.
Check out these awesome resources!
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