Fruit and vegetables

You should encourage your child to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. A child size portion is roughly half of an adult size portion. Encourage your child to eat a variety of fruit and veg as this will ensure they get a full range of vitamins and minerals. Certain fruit and veg contain certain nutrients, eg dark green, leafy veg are a good source of iron, bananas and oranges are a good source of potassium, and some root vegetables are a good source of selenium.

Examples of a child size portion are:

  • half a medium sized apple;
  • half a banana;
  • 1 small fruit, eg mandarin orange, kiwi;
  • half a large slice of pineapple or melon.

Fruit and veg not only contain lots of vitamins and minerals, they also contain fibre, which can help prevent constipation. From the ages of 3–5 years, children should be encouraged to gradually increase the portion size to that recommended for adults, eg 1 medium sized apple, 2 small kiwi fruit or a medium sized banana.

Encouraging your child to eat 5 a day:

  • Disguise vegetables in soups, grate them into casseroles or stews, or mash root vegetables into potato.
  • Offer children fruit pieces chopped into sticks or chunks. It is often more appealing when it is chopped up and ready to eat.
  • Try child-friendly fruit such as grapes, easy peel satsumas and bananas.
  • Why not make ice lollies for a child-friendly dessert by pouring fruit smoothies or 100% fruit juice into ice lolly moulds and freezing, but remember these should be given only at mealtimes to help prevent dental decay.
  • There are countless varieties of vegetable so be adventurous and try something new.
  • Have a corn on the cob competition – the first person to eat their cob without licking their lips wins!