Eat a Food Rainbow

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For Parents

This game is appropriate for 3- to 7-year-olds. Good health guidelines recommend that everyone -- kids and parents -- eat fruits and vegetables each day. The compounds that make fruits and vegetables good for the body are often what give them their color, too. So when you eat many colors, you're making sure you get a variety of nutrients. And because the body can't store some of these nutrients, you need to eat foods that contain them every day to protect your health.

As the parent, grocery shopper, and cook, it's up to you to make fruits and vegetables available and appealing to your child. Helping them to create and remembering to play the Food Rainbow Game is a big step toward building their enthusiasm for fruits and veggies.

Here are other things you can do to make eating fruits and vegetables routine in your home.

  • Offer fruits or vegetables at every meal.
  • Make 1/2 of your servings at lunch and dinner vegetables and fruit. (Another 1/4 should be whole grains, and the last 1/4 protein.)
  • Serve your child small portions of fruits and vegetables. She can always ask for more.
  • Take advantage of produce in season, but don't overlook frozen fruits and vegetables (with no sauce are likely to be healthiest), and canned goods without added salt or sugar (like fruit labeled "in its own juice"). Convenience is a huge motivator.
  • Make fruits and veggies easy to see and access at home. Put fruit in a bowl on the table. Cut and wash veggies and put them on a covered tray in the fridge.
  • Go beyond the standard red apple, green pear, and purple grape. Try kiwis, beets, mango, sweet red bell peppers, cucumber slices, and edamame.

What to Teach Your Child: Eat a Lot of Colors Every Day

Kids need to eat fruits and vegetables to stay healthy. Eating different colors gives their bodies a variety of vitamins and nutrients. Vitamins and nutrients help kids grow and can help keep them from getting sick.

What's the FIT Connection?

Teaching your child about nutrition and healthy eating is part of raising FIT kids. Remember that lots of teaching happens by example.  Your child will model your eating habits.

Eating fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy diet. Kids can eat fruits as sweet snacks and treats instead of dessert foods high in sugar and fat. Veggie-eating kids are better equipped to avoid high-calorie snacks with less nutrition. The fiber and water content in fruits and vegetables also helps the whole family fill up with very few calories and little fat.

Making healthy eating choices supports kids in all aspects of their life. Healthy eating gives you and your kids energy to move, helps you all sleep well, and can keep the whole family from overeating or loading up on foods that leave you tired or moody. All of these things work together to help your family members reach and stay at healthy weights.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD, FAAP on October 28, 2014
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