Why do kids need to eat both fruits and vegetables? If my child prefers one over the other, is that okay? Find out in this week’s “Ask Amanda,” column. Ask Amanda is our weekly virtual Q and A forum brought to you by Feed to Succeed’s expert Northshore dietitian Amanda Gordon. Submit your questions to
This week’s question comes from a fantastic kid (who also happens to be the son of one of our Feed to Succeed staff).
Why do kids need to eat both fruits and vegetables?
This is a great question! Both fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, fiber and phytonutrients, or substances in plants that have health and protective benefits for the body. Different colored fruits and vegetables contain different nutrients so eating a variety of types and colors of produce will give the body the mix of nutrients it needs for optimal health.
Starting early is important. Parents, if you can get your toddler to eat three different fruits and three different vegetables, pat yourself on the back. That’s good progress! With repeat exposure to new fruits and vegetables, this number will increase and provide a wider array of nutrients and more health benefits. Toddlers can get plenty of vitamins, mineral and phytonutrients from fruit, but adding vegetables also helps teach children about new food acceptance and trying new foods.