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The nutrient value of fruits and vegetables is the same as 50 years ago. The efficiency and effectiveness of storing and preserving fruits and vegetables has greatly improved over the last 50 years. These improvements have helped to keep fruits and vegetables at their highest nutrient potential for longer time periods. Research in agriculture has aided in producing the highest nutrient quality of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables are equal to those 50 years ago. All forms of fruits and vegetables—fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or 100% juice—have tons of nutrients! Learn why the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are so important to your health with our Top 10 Reasons to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables!
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, meaning that it needs to be consumed from the diet because the body is not able to produce it. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, it boosts the immune system, and it aids in collagen, carnitine, tyrosine, and several neurotransmitters synthesis. Vitamin C’s role in the synthesis of collagen is crucial for the formation of cartilage, scar tissue, and blood vessels.  The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adult males is 90 mg per day and 75 mg per day for adult females. Vitamin C is prominent in many foods. To learn what foods are high in vitamin C visit our Vitamin C: Best of page.
The types of fruits and vegetables that are available in stores varies depending on the fruit or vegetables’ availability and their popularity. If it lists online that they have a certain fruit and vegetable year round then you should talk to the store manager about why they aren’t available and when they will be available again. 
Apples, grapes, and oranges are great snack foods. However, it is always important to try new snacks as well! Here are a few mess-free ideas for you:
  1. What about nuts? They are a good source of protein plus they contain many vitamin and minerals.
  2. Dried fruits are always a delicious quick addition to the old snack you already love. They this Time-out Trail Mix.
  3. Learn about our Top 10 Fruit Snacks.
  4. 100% juice counts towards your fruit servings as well (just don’t make it the only form of fruit you eat). Instead of grabbing a soda, sip on 100% juice instead.
  5. Munching on carrots, cauliflower, celery, grape tomatoes, and broccoli are also popular choices. Make this Very Veggie Snack Pizza before you leave you house for simple snack later in the day.  
It is sometimes a struggle to get children to eat their recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. I know that trying to give your children proper nutrition can be frustrating, but don’t give up! The best advice is to offer him the healthy options and let him learn for himself what he likes and doesn’t like. In time, he will learn to enjoy more of the nutritious foods that you prepare for him! In the meantime, here are a few ideas:
  1. Add fruits and vegetables to the dishes he already loves. You mentioned he likes tomato sauce of pizza. What about spaghetti sauce on top of the noodles?  These tomato products are nutritious and don’t have the seeds that some children don’t like.
  2. Introduce him to fruit juice, since fruit juice counts towards his fruit servings for the day. There are several varieties available that offer both vegetables and fruit in each serving of their juice!  (Just don’t rely solely on juice for all of his fruits/vegetables.)
  3. How about beans? You can mash chickpeas and make hummus and than spread this on toast.  This is not only a great source of protein, but counts as a vegetable too!
  4. Sometimes it takes multiple “tastes” before a child learns to like new foods, so tell him that he needs to at least taste the food and that perhaps his taste buds just “aren’t old enough” to like them yet… explain that taste buds do mature with age.
  5. Sometimes cooked veggies are stronger in flavor than those that are raw (they often taste different raw vs cooked anyway), so consider having him try them raw first.
  6. Get your children involved in the preparation and cooking process. This will help him learn about healthy eating and be more excited about his fruits and vegetables.
  7. Sign up for our free newsletter for more ways to keep your children healthy and happy.
  8. And while it sounds like you’re doing many of these things, just keep doing them… it will eventually “catch on.” Setting a good example and having it available, especially when he’s hungry, and you’d be surprised what gets eaten!
The Expert: Dr. Elizabeth Pivonka, a mother of two and a registered dietitian, shares years of experience in getting people to eat more fruits and veggies.
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