Whether picky eaters or not, kids don’t always want what’s healthy for them—especially fruit and vegetables. But there are ways to make them more enticing.

The first step is to limit access to unhealthy sweets and salty snacks. It’s much easier to convince your child that an apple with peanut butter is a treat if there are no cookies available. Here are some more tips for adding more fruits and veggies to your child’s diet:

Let your kids pick the produce. It can be fun for kids to see all the different kinds of fruits and veggies available, and to pick our new ones or old favorites to try.

Sneak vegetables into other foods. Add grated or shredded veggies to stews and sauces to make them blend in. Make cauliflower “mac” and cheese. Or bake some zucchini bread or carrot muffins.

Keep lots of fresh fruit and veggie snacks on hand. Make sure they’re already washed, cut up, and ready to go. Add yogurt, nut butter, or hummus for extra protein.

GMOS and pesticides: Keeping your kids safe
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are mainly engineered to make food crops resistant to pesticides. Since children’s brains and bodies are still developing, they are more sensitive to these toxins. Eating organic produce has been shown to reduce pesticide levels in kids, but tends to be more expensive. So how can you keep your kids safe if you’re on a budget?

Feed your kids plenty of fruits and vegetables, whether they’re organic or conventionally grown—the benefits far outweigh the risks.
When possible, go organic for fruits and vegetables that you don’t peel before eating, such as berries, lettuce, tomatoes and apples. Choose conventional produce for thick-skinned fruit and veggies like oranges, bananas, and avocados.
Explore local farmers’ markets for less expensive organic produce.
Scrub conventionally grown produce with a brush. Washing won’t remove pesticides taken up by the roots and stem, but will remove pesticide residue.
When buying meat, choose organic, grass-fed whenever possible–cheaper cuts of organic meat may be safer than prime cuts of industrially raised meat.
Don’t ignore weight problems
Children who are substantially overweight are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, poor self-esteem, and long-term health problems in adulthood.

Addressing weight problems in children requires a coordinated plan of physical activity and healthy nutrition.

The goal is to slow or halt weight gain (unless directed by your child’s doctor), thereby allowing your child to grow into their ideal weight.

Don’t fall into the low-fat trap. Because fat is so dense in calories, a little can go a long way in making kids feel full and keeping them feeling fuller for longer.

Eating a breakfast high in quality protein—from enriched cereal, yoghurt, milk, cheese, eggs, meat, or fish—can help overweight teenagers eat fewer calories throughout the rest of the day.

Encourage exercise
The benefits of lifelong exercise are abundant and regular exercise can even help motivate your kids to make healthy food choices.

Play with your kids. Throw around a football; go cycling, skating, or swimming; take family walks and hikes.
Help your kids find activities they enjoy by showing them different possibilities.