Facts About Meal Pattern suggestions for Kids -Vegetables and/ or Fruits

Vegetables and/or Fruits, as a food group, provide most of the vitamin C and a large share of the vitamin A in meals as well as dietary fiber and carbohydrates for long-lasting energy.

  • At breakfast, a serving of fruit or vegetable or a serving of fruit or vegetable juice is required. Breakfast is a good time to serve foods containing vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and juices, like oranges or grapefruit. Other foods containing vitamin C are tomatoes, strawberries, and cantaloupe.
  • Consider using dried fruits, such as dried apricots, raisins, and prunes, to provide variety in menus. (Look for the “Sources of Nutrients” chart in the Reference Section that suggests foods containing vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron).
  • For lunch and supper, serve two or more kinds of vegetables and/or fruits at each meal. Up to one-half of the total requirements may be met with fruit or vegetable juice. For variety, serve fruit or vegetable juices, fruits, or vegetables for midmorning and mid-afternoon snacks.
  • Cooked vegetables means a serving of drained cooked vegetables.
  • Cooked or canned fruit means a serving of fruit and the juice it’s packed in.
  • Thawed frozen fruit includes fruit with the thawed juice.
  • Select canned fruits that are packed in fruit juice, water, light syrup, or natural juices.
  • Juice may not be served for a snack if milk is the only other component served.
  • Juice drinks with at least 50-percent-strength juice are permitted but discouraged because double the volume is needed to meet Program requirements. Some examples might include grape drinks or juice bars. Beverages containing less than 50-percent-strength juice, such as fruit punches, ades, or drinks made with fruit-flavored powders and syrups, do not meet program requirements.

Try not to serve juice to meet the fruit/vegetable requirement too many times throughout the week. It may fill up the children and take the place of foods that provide other needed nutrients.

Examples of Full-Strength Juices:

Apple Pineapple

Grape Prune

Grapefruit Tangerine

Grapefruit-Orange Tomato

Orange Vegetable

Any blend or combinations of these full-strength juices meet Program requirements.