Fruits & Veggies- for health and development

Fruits and vegetables contain the essential nutrients that are important for a child's health, growth and development. A few facts about fruits and vegetables
• Vegetables & fruits are low in fat but contain good amounts of vitamins and minerals. • All the Green-Yellow-Orange vegetables are rich sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, vitamin B-complex, vitamin-C, vitamin A, and vitamin K. • They contain antioxidants which help protect our bodies from oxidant stress, diseases and cancers and help boost immunity. • Vegetables are packed with soluble as well as insoluble dietary fiber known as non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) such as cellulose, mucilage, hemi-cellulose, gums, pectin...etc. These substances absorb excess water in the colon, retain a good amount of moisture in the fecal matter, and help its smooth passage out of the body.

We all understand the importance. We also know that, most babies start with fruits and vegetables as their first solid food. However, children become fussy about veggies after one year or so. And we all know it doesn’t work if you try to force them to eat. What can be done to address this issue?

Lead by example
That’s correct. Our children imitate and learn from us – from parents, friends, schools, etc. If we as parents make it a habit to include fruits and vegetables as part of our regular diet, children will follow. It takes time but it works.
Develope an interest
At ZoolKids we have multiple activities involving fruits and vegetables. These include
• Visit to a nearby fruit and vegetables shop • Vegetable carving activity • Tri-colour or multicolor sandwich making
Each of these activities is designed to develope interest and curiosity in the minds of children. Have a look at some of the recent activity photographs to see our contribution in developing this healthy habit. You too can implement some or more of the activities to further strengthen the liking for this diet.
Introduce variety
We all love variety – in pretty much all aspects of our life from food to clothing. The children’s brains work in similar fashion. Introducing different fruits/vegetables will keep child’s interest. Try to choose different coloured fruit and vegetables, particularly orange, green and red. Some examples are melon, broccoli, spinach, leafy greens, tomatoes, carrot and pumpkin.
Involve your child

You could take your child to vegetable and fruits shopping and ask him/her to choose. Share some fun food facts. The more kids learn about fruits and vegetables, the more interested they may become in it Ask questions and/or encourage by spelling out some benefits e.g. eating tomatoes will keep your eyes healthy. Try cutting fruits and vegetables into different shapes and let them make a picture before eating them. If you space maybe you could plant some vegetables and let the child watch the plant grow and bear vegetable. Alternatively, if you happen to visit some farm on the countryside, let the kids pick fruits/vegetables.
Handy Tips

• Wash fruits & vegetables thoroughly especially green leafy vegetables to remove dust, sand and pesticides • Rinse in salt water for few minutes and gently swish in cool water until you are satisfied with cleanliness. • Use fresh vegetables and fruits. The longer the time these are kept unused, the reduce benefits • Use fruits instead of fruits juice. The fiber content is lost when fruits are made into juice • Keep vegetables in plastic wrappings or in zip pouches in order to preserve nutrition for short-periods until you use them. For activity photos and more such tips, please visit http://www.ZoolKids.com or http://www.facebook.com/ZoolKidsPreschool