Oregon Department of Education
Nutrition Menu  

Fruits And Vegetables

Helping kids enjoy fruits and vegetables

It can be tough to get kids to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Don't force the foods, but continue to offer a variety. Try these ideas:

  • Set a good example by eating fruits and vegetables yourself. You are a role model for kids in so many ways. Eating is no exception. When kids see you eating and enjoying fruits and vegetables, they will too.
  • Offer lots of choices. Give children a choice of fruits for meals and snacks. Let them help decide on the vegetables or what goes into the salad.
  • Let children help. Kids enjoy helping in the kitchen, and are often more willing to eat foods they help choose and prepare. Depending on their ages, kids can help shop for, clean, and prepare fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep foods separate. Kids often prefer foods served separately. If they want to mix peas and corn, let them do it themselves.

USDA's Center For Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Fabulous Fruits and Versatile Vegetables

Keep fruits and vegetables around and "in sight"

Studies show that families that have fruits and vegetables around eat more of them. So, keep fruits and vegetables visible. Put a bowl of fruit on the table and keep cut-up carrot and celery sticks in a clear container in the refrigerator.

USDA's Center For Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Fabulous Fruits and Versatile Vegetables


Fruits taste great and they're bright and colorful, easy to find, and easy to prepare and eat.

There are so many to choose from. Fruits are available in many different forms-fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and as juice. All are good ways to get the recommended 2 to 4 servings of fruits a day. Here are some ways you can eat more fruits throughout the day.

  • At breakfast, top cereal with bananas or peaches; add blueberries to pancakes.
  • At lunch or supper, add a tangerine, banana, or grapes to sandwich plates, add crushed pineapple to coleslaw; include mandarin oranges in a tossed salad; serve a fruit salad for dessert.
  • For snacks, spread peanut butter on apple slices; serve frozen 100% juice bars; top yogurt with berries or slices of kiwi fruit.

USDA's Center For Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Fabulous Fruits and Versatile Vegetables


For some of us, summertime just wouldn't be the same without fresh produce. Maybe you garden or buy vegetables from a local farmers market. Even your grocery store may have more fruits and vegetables in the summer. Vegetables are available year-round as fresh, frozen, canned, or dried. Serve them raw, steamed, boiled, stir-fried, grilled, microwaved, or baked. Some ways you can add vegetables to meals: to help get the recommended 3-5 servings a day:

  • Mix cooked green beans with a little Italian dressing.
  • Bake or microwave sweet potatoes with ground cloves or cinnamon on top.
  • Microwave broccoli and sprinkle on Parmesan cheese.
  • Stir-fry broccoli with chicken or beef.
  • Add finely shredded carrots or zucchini to a meatloaf recipe.
  • Include pureed vegetables in pasta sauce or lasagna.

USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Fabulous Fruits and Versatile Vegetables

Make Vegetables Appealing to Kids

To get kids to eat vegetables, they must be available when and where kids tend to eat, be very easy to eat, and taste good. To make vegetables more tempting to kids:

  • Add vegetables to pizza toppings
  • Add minced veggies like broccoli and red pepper to spaghetti and pizza sauces and meat loaf.
  • Make oven-baked sweet potato 'fries' or bake this high-fiber, vitamin-A rich veggie with a touch of sugar, cinnamon and cloves.
  • Use cut-up pieces of vegetables to make a "smiley face" on mashed potatoes.
  • Offer a stalk of celery as an edible spoon to scoop up chili or stew.
  • Be a good role model. Eat your vegetables, and show your excitement about finding and trying new ones.

Children's Nutrition Research Center, Nutrition and Your Child, Nov 2004

Fruit Bowl

Fruit is just about the perfect snack. A variety of cubed or sliced fruit mixed with a little flavored yogurt is a year-round favorite. Mix canned and fresh fruit. Summer fruit bowls can emphasize fruits rich in vitamin A, like fresh apricots, cantaloupe, melon, peaches, papaya and mango. Winger fruit bowls can emphasize citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines. Other fruits available in the winter months include kiwi, apples, bananas, and grapes. One half cup mixed fruit and ½ slice whole wheat toast (or raisin toast) provide a reimbursable snack to children ages 1-5.

Adapted from NFSMI, Mealtime Memo for Child Care

Simple Fruit and Vegetable Snack Components

Fruits: Apple, banana, kiwi, cantaloupe, peach, pear, watermelon, honeydew melon, casaba melon, pineapple, grapefruit, grapes, orange, strawberries, tangerines, tangelos.

Vegetables: Cucumber slices, green and red pepper strips, zucchini strips, tomato wedges, jicama sticks, cauliflowerettes, carrot curls, celery sticks, broccoli florets.

NFSMI, Mealtime Memo for Child Care

Tasty Fruit and Vegetable Choices

Often kids' fruit choices are restricted to apples and bananas, and maybe grapes or oranges. Many kids love peaches, tangerines, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, plums, pears, watermelon, and pineapple. Offer these fruits in their canned or frozen forms when they are out of season. Make butter a treat for vegetables. A little butter on cooked vegetables makes them a lot tastier. Because of the "crunch," many kids like raw vegetables like carrot or zucchini sticks all by themselves.

Adapted from Alan Greene, MD, FAAP, DrGreene.com

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