Ask the experts: Toddlers and fruit
A toddler who happily eats most vegetables – sounds like a dream come true! But what if she won’t eat fruit?
Q: “My five-year-old does not like fruit. At most, she may manage half a banana and she likes tinned peaches (not fresh). All other fruits and berries, however, are off the menu. But she will eat almost all vegetables. She would prefer to eat pumpkin and broccoli over meat and potatoes (except chips), so I have started packing cooked pumpkin, sweet corn or kumara, or making pumpkin sandwiches for her lunch! I try to make sure she gets five servings of vegetables every day, but it’s mostly at dinner time. Will she be lacking nutritionally without having fruit?”
Jo, via email
A: HFG nutritionist Claire Turnbull responds:
Many parents would envy you having this problem! It is ideal to have a variety of fruits and vegetables. But in this case I wouldn’t worry. Your daughter is including a variety of vegetables of all colours and will be getting a good range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from these. Just try to spread them out through the day when you can.
Nutrition guidelines for children and adults suggest aiming for 2+ servings of fruit each day and 3+ servings of vegetables. Think of a serve as roughly a handful of fruit or vegetable – remembering for children this is their hand size, not yours.
I would suggest varying the colours of vegetables as much as possible, and over time, gradually introduce fruit without making it a big deal. Try puréeing fruit, add berries and bananas to smoothies, stew apples or pears and serve with yoghurt, or team pineapple with small cubes of cheese.