Far mangiare frutta e verdura ai bambini: che problema! Ecosalute

Making children eat fruit and vegetables: what a problem!

Dr. De Matteis , nutrition biologist talks about the importance of taking fruit and vegetables for young and old and reveals some tips to convince the most stubborn to eat them.

My son, now eighteen, did not touch fruit until a few years ago.

There was no way to make him eat it, he often said he didn't like it , without ever having tasted them. It happened to you too, right? Then luckily the children grow up and begin to eat some fruit, and maybe even some vegetables, but in the meantime we parents have to suffer, it is destiny.

Fruits and vegetables are essential foods for everyone, especially for children. The following information is for parents, children don't care about science, they are children, they just eat what they like. Fruit is rich in:

  • Fruit sugars
  • Fibers
  • Mineral salts
  • Vitamins and antioxidants
  • Waterfall

Most fruit is characterized by a low intake of protein , a good intake of carbohydrates and a reduced intake of fat. Some fatty fruits such as avocado , olives , coconut and dried fruit (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts etc.) are exceptions.

  • Sugars

Fruit mainly contains fructose , which is rapidly assimilated and usable by the body. It also has a low glycemic index , which is by no means secondary information. This means that after we have eaten the fruit, there is no drop in energy (glycemic drop), like when we eat a dessert.

  • Fibers

It mainly contains soluble fibers in the pulp, useful for maintaining intestinal integrity and also possesses prebiotic activity , essential for the maintenance of intestinal flora .

  • Mineral salts

Fruit provides a significant amount of alkaline minerals , especially magnesium. Other minerals contained are copper , zinc , potassium and selenium .

  • Vitamins and antioxidants

Fruit is very rich in antioxidant vitamins such as A, C and E, useful for combating oxidative stress , aging , carcinogenesis, atherogenesis and cardiovascular diseases in general.

The B vitamins keep the mucous membranes healthy, strengthen nails and hair and counteract fatigue . Among the most abundant antioxidants we can remember, apart from the aforementioned vitamins , zinc , selenium and phenolic substances such as resveratrol contained for example in grapes, cocoa and blueberries. Some fruits, such as citrus fruits and apples, are rich in citric and malic acid , which promote digestion .

  • Waterfall

During the summer when you sweat a lot, consuming fruit helps counteract dehydration .

Dried fruit

    Nuts, called dried fruit, contain little water and many vegetable fats , especially polyunsaturated, the good ones, so to speak, mainly omega-6.

    The color of the fruit

    Depending on the color, fruit has different substances and properties.

    These are the main ones:





    Cherries, strawberries, watermelon, pomegranate, blood oranges

    Lycopene (antioxidant)

    Polyphenols (antioxidant)


    Grapes, bananas, apples, pears

    Quercetin (anti-inflammatory, immunostimulating)


    Green apple kiwi, avocado, white grape

    Chlorophyll and folate (synthesis of DNA and proteins)


    Blackberries, black grapes, raspberries, plums

    Anthocyanins (antioxidant, protect the cardiovascular system)


    Loquats, apricots, oranges, peaches, melon, pineapple etc.

    Beta- carotene (skin, eye, bone, immune system health)


    Not all scholars agree on this point. We know for a fact that excess fructose, not consumed for energy reasons, is converted in the liver into triglycerides , oxo into fat. Therefore too much fruit risks making us fat.


    The vegetable contains the following substances:

    • Waterfall
    • Fibers
    • Vitamins
    • Mineral salts

    Some of the best known vegetables, such as tomatoes , contain vitamin C , while carrots and green leafy vegetables contain pro-vitamin A and folates, which reduce cardiovascular diseases , together with the B vitamins. leafy greens are rich incalcium and iron , and the potato also in potassium . Selenium and zinc are also part of the minerals contained in vegetables. The yellow-orange vegetables contain carotenoids (carrots, some tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc.), very important substances for:

    Red vegetables ( tomatoes, peppers, radicchio, radishes, etc.), owe their color to the lycopene which has the following properties:

    • Antioxidants
    • Protection from cardiovascular diseases

    Purple-colored vegetables ( aubergines, grapes, blackberries, blueberries, figs, etc.) contain anthocyanins which have excellent antioxidant properties.

    White vegetables ( garlic, onions, pears, cauliflowers, etc. ) contain quercetin which has the following properties:

    • Antioxidant
    • Antiallergic
    • Antitumor


    Certainly not explaining all the properties to them, this is adult stuff. Here are some ideas that might work:

    • Shape the fruit
    • The smiley faces with the pieces of fruit
    • Fruit skewer
    • Fruit in ice cream

    Shape the fruit

    The fruit that is most suitable for processing is the watermelon . For example, it could be cut out in the shape of a half moon , star , heart , cat etc. or it is possible to '' build '' animal shapes with fruit: butterfly, caterpillar, ladybug, etc.

    The smiley faces with the pieces of fruit

    With a little imagination, it is possible to form smiley faces using full-bodied fruit such as apples, for example.

    Fruit skewer

    You can cut an apple into the shape of letters , then insert the letters (perhaps to form your child's name) of fruit on a wooden skewer, inserting a small strawberry-colored fruit at the beginning and end.

    Fruit in ice cream

    Take a cone or a cup, fill it with your child's favorite ice cream and insert the pieces of fruit into the ice cream (while you do it, don't let yourself be seen ...). In this way, hoping to cheat him, he will eat the fruit along with the ice cream.


    The trick is to insert vegetables in dishes they like, all in all a not new trick. Some dishes might be the following:

    • Omelette with spinach, carrots, peppers and zucchini, of your choice
    • Fake cutlet with potatoes, courgettes, carrots, peppers or other vegetables
    • Hamburger with minced meat and vegetables of your choice
    • Meatballs with minced meat and vegetables
    • Pasta with sauce with vegetables
    • Risotto with pumpkin
    • Vegetable chips


    Blend the vegetables (courgettes, potatoes, peppers, carrots, peas) and add them to the sauce (not too many vegetables, otherwise ... they eat the leaf!). With a little luck, they won't notice the difference in flavor.


    Thinly slice apples, bananas, carrots, pineapples and potatoes and bake them in a convection oven until crispy.

    Author Dr. Giuseppe De Matteis, Nutritionist Biologist