Making fruit nutrition facts kid friendly...

You can use fruit nutrition facts very simply with children, to help them convert to healthy eating guidelines, and to control the amount of high calorie foods they eat. It will help them control their weight now, and into the future.

You don't have to, and I'd actually say shouldn't, talk to them about fruit calories, or that they can eat more of them, or that they're eating too much. The aim is to give them the information in ways that not only makes sense to them, but reiterates the idea of a healthy diet.

Here's some ways of using fruit nutrition facts with the kids:

  • 'Can I have some chips?' - 'No if you're hungry have a piece of fruit' - 'But I don't want fruit' - 'Well, you've already had some chips/biscuits (whatever), and some fruit will help fill you up.'
  • 'How come you put two pieces of fruit in my lunch and only one biscuit? I usually have three biscuits?' - 'I know, but I've realised you've been pretty busy at school lately and fruit gives you energy for longer'
  • 'Where's the snack bars?' - 'They're in the fridge, at the know the apples, oranges, kiwi fruit' - 'That's not what I want, they're not snack bars' - 'Yes they are, they're full of sugar with other good things to keep you going.' (This is one of my favorite lines...'where's the lollies?' reply...'In the fridge (or the fruit bowl) see, they're yellow and green, red and orange!'...My kids are so used to that line now I often don't even get the pleasure of finishing it, they just go 'Yeh Yeh, I get fruit'
  • 'But I don't like fruit!' - 'Well, lets go shopping, there's so many fruits, why don't we see what ones look good to you and have a taste test of some?' Sometimes they need to be shown that there's variety out there, the variations in fruit are amazing, and if nothing else...think of the nutrients they're getting in just trying them.

Bringing out the fruit nutrition facts for special occasions:

  • 'I've got a stomach ache' - 'Have you had any fruit today, it sounds like you might need some.' I sometimes find that when I question my kids on their stomach aches, they've slipped through the fruit cracks...and they haven't eaten much in the last day or two. So...out with the fruit!
  • Constipation...I won't go into much detail here...but if they're having trouble toileting (for want of a nicer word), mention to them that fruit and vegetables are good for helping them poop! (Prunes and pears work wonders with my family when this issue comes up)

Keep the information relevant to them. How will it help them, you don't need to go into the full fruit nutrition facts lecture about potassium, fibre content, water content, fruit calories versus other foods, relevance to obesity and so just want to point out subtly what eating fruit will do for them.

They will take it on board, it may mean you need to listen to a little moaning to start with, but eventually they'll adjust and without knowing it will make healthier choices...of their own accord. Of course, the process will go faster and have a better chance of success if you're role-modeling the behaviour you want them to pick up.

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