Why Kids Should Eat More Fruit

Mother and daughter eating watermelon

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Getting kids to eat more fruit and vegetables is a big goal for many parents.

Not surprisingly, it is usually easier to get them to eat more fruits than vegetables.

Health Benefits of Eating Fruit

Fruits are important too though, as they are:

  • A good low-fat food
  • Low in salt
  • Low in calories
  • A healthy food with no cholesterol
  • Usually good sources of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and folate

How Much Fruit to Eat Each Day

So much fruit do your kids need to eat each day?

Following the MyPlate dietary advice, it is recommended that:

  • 2-3-year-old children eat 1 cup of fruits each day
  • 4-8-year-old children eat 1 to 1 1/2 cups of fruits each day
  • 9-13-year-old girls eat 1 1/2 cups of fruits each day
  • 14-18-year-old girls eat 1 1/2 cups of fruits each day
  • 9-13-year-old boys eat 1 1/2 cups of fruits each day
  • 14-18-year-old boys eat 2 cups of fruits each day

When thinking of serving sizes and daily recommendations for fruits, keep in mind that 1 cup of fruit is usually equal to a cup of sliced or chopped fruit or:

  • A small apple or half of a large apple
  • A cup of applesauce
  • A large banana
  • About 32 seedless grapes
  • A medium grapefruit
  • A large orange
  • A large peach
  • A medium pear
  • 3 medium plus
  • About 8 large strawberries
  • A 1" thick wedge of watermelon
  • 1/2 cup of raisins

Although a cup of 100% fruit juice, including apple juice and orange juice, can count as a cup of fruit, it is much better to eat whole fruits, which have more fiber, instead of juice.

How to Get Children to Eat More Fruits

Getting kids to eat fruit isn't usually as hard as it is to get them to eat vegetables. Most fruits have a nice sweet taste and are already generally viewed as a fun snack.

Still, if your child doesn't eat a lot of fruit, some easy tips to encourage him to eat more fruit include that you:

  • Simply make fruits more available in your home, including having whole fruit and cut up fruit around for a quick snack
  • Offer a variety of choices, including fresh fruits that are in season, and let your child help pick them out at the grocery store or during a trip to a farmer's market
  • Add fruit, such as bananas or berries, as a topping on your child's breakfast cereal, yogurt, etc.
  • Allow your child to dip fruit slices in a low-fat dressing
  • Make a fruit smoothie

And set a good example by eating a variety of fruit every day.

Is your child a picky eater? Until he starts eating more fruits, you might ask your pediatrician if he needs a vitamin.

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition.

Additional Reading

By Vincent Iannelli, MD
Vincent Iannelli, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Iannelli has cared for children for more than 20 years.