Are Your Kids Eating 4 Cups of Fruits and Vegetables a Day?

An active 8 year old needs 1.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables everyday for optimum health. Eating more fruits and vegetables matters, and fortunately fresh, frozen, canned and dried are all excellent choices.

Lucky for us, Oregon farmers grow and process some of the best fruits and vegetables in the world. That means you can get a variety of high quality locally grown fruits and vegetables at your local grocery store, farmers market and restaurants.

When kids choose and help prepare fruits and vegetable, and those foods are available to them, they will eat it them. Here are two fun ideas to get your kids engaged in selecting and preparing a variety of Oregon produce.

1. Challenge your kids to select a rainbow of 15 fruits or vegetables from your grocery store, farmers market or CSA box. Kids love a good scavenger hunt, and it is amazing the variety of Oregon produce that is available. If fifteen different fruits or vegetables seem like too many, start smaller. Try five the first time you play this game and then every couple of weeks add another one.

2. Rethink your kitchen so fruits and vegetables are in kids' line of sight and reach. Lots of folks already have a fruit bowl on the counter, and to make it even easier for kids to help themselves, pre-wash produce and remove stickers before putting in the bowl. Lots of kids have a hard time biting into a large piece of fruit, so place a cutting board and apple or pear slicer next to the fruit bowl, and let them help themselves. In the refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards, section off an area that is just for kids' healthy snacks. Enlist your kids' help to fill those spaces with dried, frozen or pre-washed and cut produce in see-through containers or bags.

Kids take their lead from you, so show them you choose Oregon fruits and vegetables for snacks everyday. Wondering just how many fruits and vegetables you or your kids need to eat each day? Check out the Center for Disease Control's Fruit and Vegetable Calculator to calculate how many produce servings you should be eating.