It is a well known fact that fruit and vegetables are good for us; you may be aware that we need to eat at least 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables a day; you may know that a serving size is a good handful. . . . But do you know which fruit and vegetables contain which vitamins and why they are so good for us?
Using colour as a guideline you will find a list of common fruit and vegetables with the key vitamin or mineral that they contain and why it is worth eating a variety everyday. Use colour to stimulate your child's interest in eating fruit and vegetables while learning why they are good for us- have fun!
Using colour to give meaning to fruits and vegetables:
Red to keep a healthy heart:
The skin of an apple is a great source of fibre, which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
Strawberries contain a small amount of calcium which help to build strong bones.
Rich in lycopene which helps to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancers. Lycopene absorption increases when a tomato is cooked.
Yellow for energy and digestion:
A good source of vitamin B6 which helps the body to produce antibodies to fight infection. A banana is best eaten ripe, when the skin is freckled brown.
A sweet treat which contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps to aid digestion and reduce inflammation.
Contains the B Vitamin Folate which can not be made by the body and must come from the diet. Folate plays a role in make DNA (makes up our genes) and RNA (needed to make proteins).
Green for health and vitality:
Full of vitamin C which is important for the formation of collagen. This is a strengthens bones and secures teeth into the gums.
Contains beta-carotene; a pro-vitamin which is converted to an active form of vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A plays a role in your eyes adjusting to being able to see in the dark.
Filled with Iron so especially important for vegetarians. Iron is a component of haemoglobin which plays a role in transporting oxygen around the body.
Purple to live long and healthy:
Filled with phytochemicals that have an antioxidant effect that protects cells from cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Are a good source of vitamin C and also potassium. Potassium helps the body store blood sugar in the form of glycogen. This is the main source of energy to get muscles working.
Purple grapes contain antioxidants that protect against cancer; they are also high in vitamin C.
Orange to prevent disease such as cancer:
A medium carrot gives a substantial amount of vitamin A. It also provides Vitamin B1 which has an important role in helping the body convert carbohydrates and fats into energy.
Filled with Vitamin C an orange or a glass of orange juice at meal time will increase absorption of iron in the body. Remember it is better to eat the fruit than drink a juice as juice is high in sugar.
The colour orange provides antioxidants that will give a healthy heart, improve vision and keep a healthy immune system.
Games for teaching:
It is important to teach the children from a young age why eating fruit and vegetables is so good for us. Find pictures of different fruits and vegetables, cut out the pictures and use them in the following games:
1. Create a salad or use skewers to make a kebab with the pictures. Ask your child what they would like in their salad and on their kebab through imagery. You never know what new recipe you may get!
2. Talk about the different fruits and vegetables and what they are good for in the body. Ask your child to place the picture on a body part that the fruit/vegetable is good for. E.g. carrots are filled with vitamin A which is good for our eyesight.
3. Take a picture of the fruit/vegetable and ask your child to match the picture with a real piece of the fruit/vegetable. Start with the piece in its whole form and then try it in different ways. E.g. sliced apple, grated carrot and mashed banana. Once matched - taste it!
Create a rainbow of fruit and vegetables for summer and turn eating into a healthy fun part of your day!