FAQ: How Many Serves of Fruit Does My Child Need?

By : | 1 Comment | On : June 25, 2013 | Category : Nutrition

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Kids will be kids, and there will be times when their behaviour is just plain random and confusing but will often go back to normal without changing anything. Sometimes, the answer to your problem is over a coffee with a friend, posting the question in an online mother’s group, or secret forum. A fellow mummy with experience can often provide that little bit of wisdom, the glimmer of hope that you have been looking for or at the very least, a new idea to try.

We certainly don’t have all the answers. So these FAQ blog posts are to be seen like this…  if our closest friends were to ask our advice, these would be our answers. But don’t let it stop with us, If you have an idea that might help others, we would love to hear it. Leave a comment after this post, or join our Facebook page to talk to other parents.

“Hi One Handed Cooks, my child LOVES fruit. I was wondering if it is possible for her to eat too much fruit? Thank you.”

Well, first of all it’s fantastic that your daughter enjoys her fruit. Fruit is an important food group which provides valuable vitamins and minerals essential for good health and wellbeing.  Whole fruits are low in energy (kJ/calories), high in fibre and water, are a source of carbohydrates and along with many essential vitamins and minerals including folate, vitamin C and E they also contain health promoting antioxidants and natural plant chemicals. Along with a healthy balanced diet these are important for preventing many lifestyle diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, later in life.  Including a variety of fruits of a variety of colours in your child’s diet is the easiest way to maximise the health benefits they receive.

The 4th guideline in the Australian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents is “Eat plenty of breads and cereals, vegetables (including legumes) and fruits” and they recommend children eat the following number of serves of fruit each day:

Age Serves* of Fruit
1-2 years 1/2
2-3 years 1
4-8 years 1 1/2
8+ years 2

 

* 1 serve of fruit = approx. 150g such as:

- 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
- 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits, plums or mandarins
- 1 cup of diced or canned fruit (with no added sugar)

Note: Fruit juice (1 serve = 125 ml or 1/2 cup) doesn’t contain the same amount of fibre, isn’t as filling as whole fruit and can easily be consumed in excess contributing to tooth decay and obesity. Dried fruit is high in energy and sugar and can also contribute to tooth decay as it sticks to the teeth easily. Both fruit juice and dried fruit are best consumed occasionally only.

So, to answer your question…:  Fruits are a source of natural sugars and provide energy along with many important vitamins and minerals.  Children need lots of energy to grow and develop so eating more than the recommended serves up to around 2-3 serves of fruit per day isn’t usually a problem.  Although if your child is eating more fruit than this on a regular basis and she isn’t eating enough foods from the other food groups - vegetables and legumeswholegrain breads and cereals; lean meat, poultry and fish etc and milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives – then we would suggest limiting the fruit to allow her to consume a more balanced diet.

Don’t forget to read our disclaimer.  If you have any specific questions or concerns regarding the nutritional adequacy of your child’s diet or their health and wellbeing please consult a medical practitioner or an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) for individualised advice.

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