By in Food

Fun Ways to Get Kids to Eat Fruit

Fruit juice is a common item in a child's school lunchbox, but it really isn't the healthiest choice. Kids who rely on juices to get their fruits for the day are drinking a sugary beverage that has as many calories as the same amount of soda pop.

They may also fill themselves up too quickly with the juice and not finish eating the foods in their lunch. A little while later when the juice has been digested, they find themselves hungry during class. If your child is eating on the bus after school, or comes home ravenous and looking to raid the fridge, it may be he drank too much juice before he ate his meal.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no more than half a child's fruit servings come from juice. But because whole fruit has more fiber and takes longer to digest than juice, it's even better for your child to eat her fruit and to drink water instead.

Here are some fun ways to add whole fruit to a school lunch:

  • Use bento boxes , and fill them with pieces of watermelon, canteloupe or honeydew cut into fun shapes

  • Make fruit kebabs with grapes, chunks of melon or pineapple, and strawberries

  • Send a handful of cut up fruit or berries for your child to add to his yogurt

  • Create a homemade fruit salad from juicy citrus fruits

  • Opt for seedless grapes, and use a cherry pitter before packing cherries

  • Add a portion of fruit to a green salad

  • Put raisins or apples in some coleslaw

  • Replace a granola bar with banana chips

  • Pack a trail mix that has plenty of dried fruit in it

  • Add banana to your peanut butter sandwiches

  • Add fruit to your favourite muffin recipe

  • Make your child's sandwiches on banana or apple bread

  • Send a small container of healthy yogurt dip so kids can drunk their fruit

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Image credit: Fruit photo by Bill Ebbesen/Wikipedia ( CC BY-SA3.0 )

All the links in this article go to additional content by me, some with handy recipes!

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vserrao1 wrote on August 11, 2014, 9:30 PM

This is why we should always feed children whole fruit and no juice or soda from when they are babies. We can train them to want fruit and not juice, but it must start from the infancy years.

paperdaisyflower7 wrote on August 11, 2014, 9:45 PM

nice suggestions! for me i love fruits and can eat them all day

JanetJenson wrote on August 11, 2014, 10:18 PM

Yes, what we eat as children seems to condition us for the choices we make later in life. People can grow up and overcome bad choices but it is harder than if they had been started off right, I think.

Ruby3881 wrote on August 11, 2014, 10:37 PM

I think quite possibly the worst thing anyone ever did was to encourage parents to give babies fruit juice. It's not good for little ones to drink juice from a bottle or sippy cup, and too many parents give it to them as if it were water. They don't understand that the whole fruit is much healthier. Really, by the time a child is sitting up and reaching for foods on his own, he can eat a lot of fruits fresh. It's especially nice if the child comes to that age when fruits are in season :)

Ruby3881 wrote on August 11, 2014, 10:39 PM

A bad habit can be started at almost any time in life too, though. Kids who never eat any unhealthy foods very often get all manner of bad habits when they start school. Seeing all their classmates with the flashy prepared snack foods makes them forget all their healthy eating habits. All they want is the jewel-toned jelly parfaits, the fake fruit roll ups, and the other colourful forms that empty calories come in :(

Ruby3881 wrote on August 11, 2014, 11:00 PM

We only get fresh fruit here for a very short season - mostly from July through September. The rest of the year, any fruit we eat is either preserved, imported, or grown in a greenhouse. I wish we had a longer season for fresh fruit!

BNelson wrote on August 11, 2014, 11:31 PM

Never been an issue for me, fruit is usually a favorite.

MegL wrote on August 12, 2014, 12:44 AM

Much better for children to eat fresh fruit. Better for their digestive systems too!

paperdaisyflower7 wrote on August 12, 2014, 12:55 AM

yes fruits are seasonal but bananas and sometimes papayas are easy to get and the apples and oranges.

BarbRad wrote on August 12, 2014, 1:32 AM

These are great suggestions. We also grate some apple with the carrots when we make carrot and raisin salad.

Ruby3881 wrote on August 12, 2014, 1:37 AM

We can reliably get bananas, apples and oranges here all year round. Oranges and bananas are always imports anyway, as are a lot of the grapes we buy. But apples are in season in early fall. We have a lot of orchards in our valley, so there are some beautiful apples of all descriptions when the harvest comes in.

Berries, cherries, melons and soft fruit like peaches or plums all have a very short season here. We can get them at other times of the year, but they are very expensive. And many times they'll be less appetizing because they were picked too soon and transported at great distances.

Ruby3881 wrote on August 12, 2014, 1:38 AM

Your kids are in a minority, Brenda! So many of them turn their noses up at fruit unless it comes with a candy coating or is turned into juice.

Ruby3881 wrote on August 12, 2014, 1:43 AM

Indeed! Typically, kids will take fruit juices and prepared foods like applesauce or fruit canned in syrup for a school lunch. Gummies and fruit leathers are also popular, but may have very little nutritional value to them. A lot of parents buy these things because kids ask for them, and because they are fast and easy. They also figure there isn't much point in sending fruit the child won't eat anyway.

Ruby3881 wrote on August 12, 2014, 1:44 AM

Yup, that's another good one for kids because it's sweet and the carrots are colourful :)

Ellis wrote on August 12, 2014, 8:26 AM

Best to get children interested in healthy foods at an early stage of their development...

WordChazer wrote on August 13, 2014, 2:57 PM

I have found after years of trial and error that I will eat fresh fruit with yogurt. An apple diced into 6 tablespoons of lemon curd yogurt is my latest. Next week it'll be apples with blackcurrant yogurt which is even better. I've also tried nectarines and peaches with my yogurt. As a lunch, it fills me up and stops me snacking the afternoon away. Healthwise it's one a day that I know about. An apple is 45 calories or something silly. A chocolate bar is usually over 200. I'm looking forward to trying tangerines and mandarine oranges with yogurt too.

That said, I don't like cherries, and bananas don't like me. I also do occasionally need Coke, but tend not to drink juice that much: tea, water or wine are my preferences.