Expert Q&A

My kids hate veggies. (I don’t like them much either.) Do they really have to eat them to have a healthy diet?

You’re not alone. The truth is, less than 10 percent of kids between ages 2 and 11 eat three servings of vegetables each day, and almost half eat less than one serving. I know it’s hard to get your children to chow down on broccoli. That said, you don’t want to rely on vitamin supplements alone for nutrients, because kids get important protection from antioxidants found in real food. But there is a solution: Fill up your children with sweet summer fruits. Almost every kid likes at least some fruits, which share many of the same vitamins with veggies. For example, beta carotene (important for vision) is found in both carrots and cantaloupe; folate (essential for cell reproduction) is in brussels sprouts and bananas; and vitamin E (key to the formation of red blood cells) is in broccoli and blueberries. This should make things easier -- and tastier -- for you and your children.

Expert Christine Wood is a pediatrician and the author of How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It (KidsEatGreat 2002).

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