Fruit is an important food for everyone. Fruit is one of the 5 core food groups and is something that we should all eat every day.
Why Eat Fruit?
Children do not need a lot of fruit each day. About 1- 2 servings for toddlers and pre-school aged children is enough to help their growing bodies to be well fuelled. . Fresh, frozen, tinned or dried, fruit is packed full of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. . Vitamin C which is found in most fruit is particularly helpful as it also helps with the absorption of iron, a key mineral for healthy growth and brain development.
Fruit comes in a range of textures and tastes, ranging from sweet to sour. For younger children who are still developing their chewing skills; soft fruits such as bananas, ripe pears and ripe stone-fruits might be most easily eaten. As their biting and chewing skills strengthen, harder textures such as apples might be enjoyed. As fruit comes with its own packaging, it’s a great food to add to picnic baskets, lunchboxes or have as a ready snack whilst on the go.
What about sugar?
Fruit contains natural sugars in amounts much less than those found in most sweets, lollies, biscuits, cakes, juices, muesli bars, honey, jam and many breakfast cereals. As an extra bonus, the fibre in fruit means that these sugars are absorbed more slowly than in processed foods.
Many children eat excessive amounts of sugar and not enough foods form the core-food groups. It is important to limit foods and beverage that contain added sugars such as cordials, juice, ice-cream, muesli bars, biscuits, cakes and most processed “fruit” snacks. It is equally as important to provide 1-2 servings of fruit each day for your toddler or pre-school aged child.
Making fruit a daily thing
At Jenny’s we provide a range fruit at each mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. We provide these as finger foods, generally in sliced or diced forms and encourage children to explore fruits of different colours, textures and flavours.
Whilst fruit is a great snack, other ways you could provide it include:
- Fruit Activities: Fruit is perfect for making food sculptures! Cut fruit into various shapes and combine colours to make animals, faces, or whole landscapes. Grapes can be threaded onto skewers to make grape caterpillars or try a medley of fruits on a stick for an easy to eat colourful treat.
- Frozen berries are great in a smoothie but also make for a tasty summer snack. Serve straight from the freezer in a small bowl or wizz-up with a stick blender for a home-made “icy”
- Banana “ice-cream”. Freeze over-ripe bananas with the skins still on. Remove the skins, place in a food processor or mix with a stick-blender until they are of a soft serve consistency. Scoop a serving and enjoy.
- A family “Tasting Plate” for dessert. Slice and diced a range of colourful fruits to share amongst the family for dessert or supper. Allow children to “explore” new fruits by serving themselves with fingers, tongs, tooth-picks or utensils.
- Serve with a favourite fruit with the evening meal. Some reluctant eaters are more likely to try less favoured items if there is a food they enjoy already on their plate. This helps them to feel “safe” in trying something new such as meat or a new vegetable. Be sure not to provide too much of their favourite food (they might fill up on this), a little can go a long way..
Each of the centres at Jenny’s ELC is equipped with a kitchen garden and are members of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program to help provide children with the opportunity to see the fruit and vegetables grow from seed or seedling into to delicious food.
If you would like to learn more about our seed to plate experience, or for enrolment information, contact us today.