Give fruits and vegetables a high five

Give fruits and vegetables a high five

Dr. Stan Cohen, MD

Is a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children’s Center for Digestive Health Care / GI Care for Kids, whose books on nutrition for parents led him to start Nutrition4Kids with his co-founders.

Kids should eat Five Fistfuls of Fruits and Vegetables Every Day 

We all should have at least 4 to 5 fruits and vegetables a day. But would just one strawberry count? Well, how much would? Here at N4K, we have a rule of thumb, rather, a rule of fist: Five fistfuls a day! 

"Five Fistfuls a Day" You Say? 

If you curl your  hand into a fist, that's the serving size of a fruit or vegetable for you! Your fist might be about the size of an apple. On the other hand (pun intended), your child's fist may be the size of a clementine. Each fruit is the specific serving size for each member of the family. So, one clementine might only be a half portion of fruit for you and a whole apple might be two servings for your child. Applying the "five fistfuls a day" rule can be an easy and fun way to help the whole family meet their fruit and vegetable needs each day. 

It should be balanced, not all fruits and no vegetables. And it's best if the fruits and vegetables are spread among several so your child's body gets the benefits of the different vitamins and minerals in different foods. That's why sometimes dietitians talk about different colored fruits and vegetables. And while potatoes are healthy and worth eating, we don't like to count them as part of the five. We put them in the starch category with rice. We suggest sweet potatoes instead.    

My Family Still Gives the Thumbs Down to the Five FistsMany people only eat fruits and vegetables a few times a week. Therefore, we know it can be a big change to start eating these healthy whole foods a few times each day. Know that it may take some time and patience to get your family used to meeting their five servings daily. If your family is hard to sell on the Five Fistfuls (or healthy eating in general), here are some tips to help make the transition easier.

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