5-a-day fruit and veg recipes
There is growing evidence that it's vital for everyone to eat at least 5 portions of vegetables and fruit each day. Here are some fun ways to incorporate fruit and veg into every meal of the day
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There is growing evidence that it’s vital for everyone to eat at least five portions of vegetables and fruit each day. It helps prevent illnesses like cancer and is an essential source of fibre, vitamins and
micronutrients.

But how do you get your children to eat their greens (or rather “robot colours”)? Dietician and head of the non-profit 5-a-day For Better Health Trust, Jane Badham, says parents shouldn’t worry too much about portion size.

“It’s more important to ensure your children eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruit. Obviously a child’s portion is smaller than an adult’s. The best way to judge a portion is by the size of your child’s palm. A small fruit (like an apricot or plum) and half or less of a larger fruit (like apple or mango) is a child portion, and so is a palm size serving of any vegetable.”

To help you to get your toddler to eat at least five portions of vegetables and fruit a day, we’re giving you an example of what you might tempt your tot with in a day – plus loads of tips for other days.

Breakfast

Fruity oats

Ingredients

  • 250ml water
  • 250ml milk
  • 250ml rolled oats
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored & grated small handful Raisins, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Pour the water and milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the oats, apples, raisins and cinnamon. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 mins or until thickened.
  2. Serve with a small glass (125ml) of orange juice to up your 5-a-day quota.

Tip

A small glass of fruit juice counts as a portion of fruit, but it is far preferable to eat a fruit and drink water rather than drink fruit juice


Mid-morning snack

Fruit skewers & yoghurt dip

Ingredients

  • ½ pineapple, peeled & cut into cubes
  • 1 cup strawberries, washed & halved
  • 2 bananas, peeled & cut into chunks
  • ½ cup plain low-fat yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tbsp honey

Instructions

  1. Thread the fruit onto skewers.
  2. Blitz the yoghurt, berries and honey together in a blender and serve as a dip.

Tip

Combining the yoghurt with the fruit lowers the GL, which in some fruits can be quite high. Use honey only if your child is older than 1 year.


Lunch

Couscous with dried fruit & roast chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled & chopped
  • 125ml frozen peas
  • 60ml dried fruit (like sultanas, chopped apricots or cranberries)
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 250ml couscous
  • ½ cup roast chicken (store-bought or left-over from Sunday lunch)

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fr y the onion until translucent. Stir in the peas and dried fruit, pour over the stock and bring to the boil. Stir in the couscous, remove from the heat, cover and set aside for 10 – 15 mins.
  2. Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the chicken. This dish is suitable for babies from 9 months, but is equally delicious for older children and even adults (who might like to add a little salt and freshly ground pepper, as well as chopped coriander leaves.)

Mid-afternoon snack

Finger food picnic

Ingredients

  • 100g baby sweetcorn, washed
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, washed
  • 100g sugarsnap peas, washed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into match sticks
  • 100g mushrooms, wiped & quartered
  • variety of dips like hummus, tzatziki and guacamole

Instructions

  1. The vegetables listed above serve as guideline only. Use anything that’s in season.
  2. Arrange veggies on a plate, spoon dips in bowls and let your toddler have some finger food fun.

Tip

Cherry tomatoes are sweeter and firmer than other tomatoes, making them perfect for snacking, dipping and for salads. They’re packed with Vitamin C and Vitamin A and you also get some fibre and phytochemicals.


Dinner

Vegetable bake

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
  • 1 broccoli, washed and cut into florets
  • 1 onion, peeled & chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 250ml cream
  • 1 packet brown onion soup powder

Instructions

  1. Steam the cauliflower, broccoli and carrots until just tender. (You can remove a portion – one cauliflower floret, one broccoli floret and about a tablespoon of carrot – to puree with a little cooking liquid if you have a first time eater in the family.)
  2. In the meantime, brown the onions in the olive oil. Add the steamed vegetables and tomatoes. Mix the soup powder and the cream and add to the vegetables. Transfer to an ovenproof dish.
  3. Bake at 180°C for 30 – 45 mins or until sauce has thickened.
  4. Serve with brown basmati rice cooked to packet instructions. This dish is not suitable for babies younger than a year, because soup powder contains salt.

Tip

A good rule of thumb for balanced meals to keep in mind when dishing for your child, is that half his plate should be vegetables, a quarter protein and the other quarter starch (preferably one with a low GL like wholewheat bread, pasta made from durum wheat or brown basmati rice).

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