Kids Health Matters: Visit farmer's markets for fresh produce

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Kids Health Matters: Visit farmer's markets for fresh produce. Registered nurse Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 12:30 p.m. on May 24, 2017. (WPVI)

We all want our kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. Nutrition experts at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia say now is a prime time to get them interested.

The season is on for farmer's markets and they're already bursting with colorful produce. So now is the time to introduce the kids to new fruits and vegetables.

Dietitian Elizabeth Coover with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia says start with fresh greens.

"Different types of lettuces, kale, collard greens, good things like spinach," she recommends.

Try to go for darker greens in addition to vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. They'll have more calcium for strong bones. Add a splash of color with purple kale, or red lettuces.

On the fruit side, look for strawberries - they're packed with vitamin C.

Coover says local produce can be tastier and more nutritious than supermarket produce, because it may not have traveled as far.

Another way to try new fruits and vegetables is through community-supported agriculture, or a CSA.

"You sign up through a local farm or farm share, and each week or each month, they send you certain types of foods there, even add-ons like fresh farm eggs," said Coover.

If you get something you're not familiar with, look it up.

Try websites like Fruit and Veggies More Matters that cover everything, including what's in season, what that produce is, and recipes for preparing it.

There are also recipes in the hospital's cookbook, Nutrition in the Kitchen, which is available for free online.

And Coover's team is creating more.

"We've been doing Swiss chard quesadillas. We've been doing fresh spinach dip - so you can use some of that to dip in for fresh veggies," she said.

Kids are also more likely to try new foods when they get involved. So let them pick out some produce, wash it, or prepare it.

Chances are they'll be back for more.

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