Nature has bestowed us with fruits in different shapes, colors, and sizes. Fruits are usually liked by all and are beneficial for people of all ages, particularly children, due to their healthy contents. Children are among the most sensitive groups that contract infection or disease. Therefore, they need a good amount of nutrients and antioxidants to boost their immunity and fight against diseases. Fruits provide many such antioxidants and nutrients.
Why Are Fruits Important for Children?
Fruits are essential for consumption in children because of the following reasons:
Rich In Nutrients: Fruits hold abundant vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and phytonutrients that aid in providing good health and protection against chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancers, etc. Fruits come in a great variety of colors, and different colored fruits have specific nutrients; hence, they have distinct health benefits. It is imperative that children consume diverse fruits of discrete colors each day to gain their individual profits. Some common yet healthy examples of fruits are as follows:
Red-Colored Fruits: Strawberries, watermelon, raspberries, cherries, apples, etc.
Orange-Colored Fruits: Oranges, mangoes, peaches, apricots, etc.
Yellow-Colored Fruits: Pineapple, banana, lemon, etc.
Green-Colored Fruits: Kiwi, green apple, grapes, etc.
Blue-Black Colored Fruits: Blueberries, plums, black grapes, blackberries, etc.
Prevents Excessive Weight Gain: Fruits contain a simple sugar called fructose which is healthy in nature. They also provide low yet instant energy in comparison to other foods as they are digested and absorbed quickly. Therefore, opting for them over complex carbohydrates can help in arresting abnormal weight gain.
Packed With Fiber: Fruits are a rich source of fiber and hold abundant moisture, which helps prevent various problems like constipation that children face often. In addition, they also prevent childhood obesity, as when children consume fruits that are loaded with fiber, it gives them a sense of fullness and prevents them from overeating. Hence, encourage them to consume various fruits, mainly seasonal fruits, which provide numerable benefits to kids.
Prevents Heart Disease: Soluble fiber present in fruits like apple, pear, and guava helps eradicate harmful cholesterol in the arteries, thus preventing serious heart diseases like atherosclerosis and various kinds of cardiovascular diseases. Hence, children should be encouraged to consume a variety of fruits.
Prevents Cancer: Consuming two to three fruits daily protects the child from various kinds of cancers like cancer of the mouth, stomach, and the esophagus; as it helps to reduce the reactive oxidative stress in their body. They can be consumed in the whole form, or else you can also give them to the child by cutting and dipping them in curd, which is also a good source of probiotics that will keep your child's gut healthy and free from contracting any kind of illness or infections.
Loaded With Moisture: Children these days often suffer from symptoms like dehydration due to inadequate water consumption and exposure to the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays while playing outdoor games. Thus, it becomes imperative to give your child fruits loaded with moisture to prevent issues like dehydration.
Prevents Constipation: Is your kid suffering from constipation frequently? One of the reasons your child is suffering from constipation is due to a lack of fiber in the diet as in the case of consuming junk foods from outside like burgers and pizzas and also aerated drinks, which are high in fats and sugars, but low in fiber causes issues like constipation in children. Hence, give your child various fruits every day to get rid of constipation. Your child may also get constipated when highly stressed due to a new place or a shift to a new school. Therefore, teach your child to be calm by practicing ten minutes of meditation just before sleeping at night.
Are Whole Fruits and Fruit Juices Equally Healthy?
Whole fruits are more healthy and nutritious than fruit juices; that is why they are preferred more. On the other hand, fruit juices carry minimal fiber and more sugar and are higher in energy. They can even affect teeth when taken regularly. Fruit juices do contribute to the daily portion of fruits in the diet, yet whole fruits are more filling and are a healthier option.
What Are the Recommended Portions of Fruits In the Children’s Diet?
The recommendations of fruit served in the children’s diet differ based on their physical activities, age, gender, and status of their health.
What Are the Things to Consider While Eating Fruits?
There are certain things that should be regarded while consuming fruits. If fresh fruits are not available, then frozen, canned, or dried varieties of fruits can be bought. However, fruits in dried form are sticky in nature and can adhere to the teeth. They lead to increased chances of tooth decay so should be consumed rarely and in small quantities. While buying canned fruits, the products canned in more than or equal to 99 % fruit juice and without added sugars are preferred. Canned fruits immersed in syrup should be avoided. While choosing dried fruits, the ingredients list should be checked first, and products without added sugar should be selected.
What Is the Common Myth About Eating Fruits?
The most common myth about fruit consumption is regarding their intake quantity due to their sugar content. The sugar present in fruits occurs naturally, so their intake need not be restricted as it is a healthy sugar. Furthermore, fruit contains many important nutrients that provide nutrition as well as boost immunity.
Food products with added sugar, such as fruit drinks, are easily available in the market, yet, they are poor in nutrients and provide a lot of energy. Increased consumption of such foods and drinks causes obesity, and other critical health issues like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
Fruit consumption is important for the healthy growth and development of children. They should be included in the diet regularly in the proper ratio, and their serving should be fulfilled in the healthiest way.
Frequently Asked Questions