Choose to Boost Veggies and Fruit

Let’s encourage our kids to eat more veggies and fruit!

Over the next several months, our Healthy Kids Community Challenge community will be working to encourage kids and families to reach for more vegetables and fruit. Canada’s Food Guide recommends children aged 2-13 years old eat 4-6 servings of veggies and fruit each day. However, we know kids and adults often fall short of this goal.

All kinds of groups will be joining forces in our community to support the Choose to boost
veggies and fruit theme. There will be new actions, programs, policies, and campaigns aimed
at making vegetables and fruit the easy choice for a meal or snack, in all the places kids spend time.

Why should we choose to boost veggies and fruit?

• Vegetables and fruit contain many nutrients that protect our health and fuel our bodies3. Nutrients provided by vegetables and fruit include carbohydrates, vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium and some B vitamins such as folate.

• Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruit may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and heart disease. This type of diet is also linked to healthy weights.

Canada’s Food Guide recommends that children:

1. Eat a mix of different vegetables and fruit each day. Kids should eat at 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.

2. Choose vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt. Vegetables that are steamed, baked or stir-fried are better choices than deep fried.

3. 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) as soft drinks.

How can families choose to boost veggies and fruit at home?

• Expose children to a mix of different vegetables and fruit 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 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 to them 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 for 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 getting 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.

For references and links to studies- consult this fact sheet.