06/10/2016 - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, which is a great time to try to get kids to put more nutrient-packed foods on their plates.
The latest dietary guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend that everyone increase their vegetable and fruit intake. The USDA's MyPlate recommendations are based on calorie needs for age, gender and activity level.
For example, an active 4-year-old girl on a 1,400-calorie diet should eat 1.5 cups of vegetables, and 1.5 cups of fruit a day.
Jennifer Stradtman, a chef and owner of Myrtle Beach's Boom Boom Wine Room and restaurant, runs a kids' cooking camp every summer. She said the best way to get kids to eat vegetables is to let them play in the kitchen and learn how to prepare them.
"Sometimes, when they learn how to make the vegetables and it's fun for them, they are more likely to eat it than if you just put something in front of them." she said.
Stradtman added sweeter vegetables like carrots may work better at first. Leafy greens can also be dressed up to become more appealing to young eaters. She suggested veggie kabobs as a colorful, fun way to cook with children. For some protein, pre-made meatballs such as Mom Made's Chicken and Apple can be added. They are antibiotic-free and low in fat.
There are a number of other ways to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to a child's menu. Here are a few:
- Use fruit as a topping for cereal, pancakes or waffles
- Add vegetables to casseroles, soups and stir-fry
- Make a fruit smoothie or mix fruit into yogurt
- Pack raw vegetables with dip for a snack
- Add vegetables as pizza toppings
1 98 oz.) box of Mom Made's antibiotic-free Chicken & Apple Meatballs
2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 yellow bell pepper, washed
1 green bell pepper, washed and cut into 1' squares
1 box of cherry tomatoes
1 cup of cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2' cubes
1 cup of pineapple, cut into 1/2' cubes
Heat the meatballs in low sodium chicken broth according to directions on the box. Place meatballs, cheese cubes, bell peppers and pineapple on skewers. Serve with your favorite rice and dipping sauce, e.g. ranch, BBQ, sweet & sour.