Components and Nutrient Contributions -Vegetables & Fruits


Meal Components Examples Nutrients
Vegetables (dark green, deep yellow) Broccoli, carrots, collard greens, green pepper, kale, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato, winter squash Vitamins A and C, fiber, iron, vitamin B-6, folate, potassium, dietary fiber, magnesium, and riboflavin
Vegetables (starchy) Potatoes, black-eyed peas, corn, lima beans, green peas Complex carbohydrate, fiber, iron, folate, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium
Vegetables (other) Cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, okra, onions, summer squash, tomatoes, vegetable juice, zucchini Dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium, and magnesium
Dry beans and peas (can also count as a meat alternate, but not in the same meal.) Black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, navy beans, peas, pinto beans, soy beans Protein, complex carbohydrate (starch and dietary fiber), iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and folate

Menu Ideas to Increase Variety

  • Top baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese.
  • Dip raw carrots and cauliflower in lowfat/fat-free yogurt dip or lowfat/fat-free salad dressing.
  • Encourage children to try vegetables such as eggplant, yellow squash, turnips, and spaghetti squash.
  • Use spinach and other greens for salads.
  • Serve seasonal fresh vegetables.

Caution must be used when giving raw vegetables to young children because of the risk of choking. (See additional information on choking risks in the Reference Section on page 140.) Vegetables provide good flavor and texture variety to the menu.


Meal Components Examples Nutrients
Citrus fruits, melon, berries Oranges, grapefruit, citrus juices, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries Carbohydrate, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin C; deep yellow fruit source of vitamin A
Other fruit Apple, apricot, banana, cherries, fruit juice, grapes, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, prunes, raisins Carbohydrate, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin C; deep yellow fruit source of vitamin A

Menu Ideas to Increase Variety

  • Serve fresh, ripe fruits when they are in season, such as cantaloupe, peaches, watermelon, strawberries, plums, pears, and grape halves.
  • Offer canned fruits packed in light syrup or in natural juices, such as fruit cocktail, peaches, and pears.
  • Buy frozen mixed fruit and add fresh banana slices.
  • Choose a fruit to top a dessert like pudding or gelatin.
  • Try using an orange glaze on chicken breasts.
  • Introduce unfamiliar fruits such as kiwi, papaya, mango, apricots, dates, and figs.