Content Map Terms

What Makes Vegetables and Fruit So Special?

a variety of fresh fruits


They're generally low in fat and calories but high in nutrients.

Eating vegetables and fruit in place of other higher calorie foods can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

  • Vitamins! Vegetables and fruit are the major source of water soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, beta carotene and folate (the naturally occurring form of folic acid). They have been shown to reduce the risk of some types of cancer, heart disease, stroke and cataracts.
  • Potassium! Studies have linked this mineral to lower blood pressure.
  • Fibre! Fibre helps keep your digestive system healthy. Some studies have linked fiber to a reduced risk of bowel cancer.
  • Disease prevention! Vegetables and fruit contain over 4,000 identified phytochemicals - naturally occurring compounds that help prevent disease in different ways. Some are linked to reduced risk of cancer, heart disease or stroke while others are involved in preventing eye disease or slowing the aging process.
  • Colour! In general, the darker the color of a vegetable or fruit, the higher its nutrient value. Enjoy vegetables and fruit of all colors and tastes to get the maximum health benefit.

Most kids love fruit, many don't like vegetables.

Children need a healthy balanced diet including vegetables and fruit, whole grains, milk products and meats or alternatives to grow, stay healthy and develop as they should. Unfortunately, while most kids love fruit, many don't like vegetables.

What's a parent to do? Help children enjoy their greens - and reds, yellows, oranges, blues and purples! First of all, show your kids that vegetables and fruit come in a variety of colors, tastes and textures.

And they're fun!

  • They crunch…
  • They snap…
  • They "shmoosh"…
  • They fill your mouth with juice that dribbles down your chin…
  • And you can pick them up with your fingers and dip them in yummy sauces!

Involve your children in buying and preparing vegetables and fruit. They're more likely to eat foods they help prepare. Give them tasks they can handle. A two-year old can bring ingredients from one place to another and tear salad greens. An older child can measure ingredients and prepare simple dishes with supervision. And a teenager can take some – or all – responsibility for meal preparation.


Children who sit with their family for meals eat more vegetables and fruit.

Last Updated: August 4, 2013