Kids eat right.

The Season for Strawberries

By Jessica Cox, RD
The Season for Strawberries

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Studies consistently show that kids are not getting the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. But, red, sweet, juicy strawberries are one fruit that you won't have any trouble getting your child to eat.

Strawberries are one of America's most loved fruits. Nearly every family in the U.S. enjoys this tasty fruit. More than half of children ages 7 to 9 rate strawberries as their favorite fruit. Thus, it’s not surprising that the average American consumes 8 pounds per year!

A cup of naturally sweet strawberries (about 8 medium) has only 50 calories, making them the perfect treat to satisfy your child's sweet tooth. And, strawberries for dessert pack a powerful nutrient punch that many traditional desserts lack.

Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, folate, fiber and potassium. Just 1 cup contains 140 percent of the recommended Daily Value of vitamin C for kids. Kids need vitamin C for growth, body tissue repair, and a healthy immune system. One cup of sliced strawberries provides 3.3 grams of fiber, which aids in digestive health. Strawberries are rich in antioxidants including anthocyanins. These compounds give strawberries their bright red color. And, they may help prevent some chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Not only are strawberries delicious and nutritious, but they are the perfect size for little hands and are extremely versatile. Serve them whole, packed to go or in a variety of recipes. For example, add them to salads, sandwiches with cheese or nut butter, salsa, smoothies, fruit kabobs, low-fat yogurt or ice cream.

When fresh strawberries aren't in season, choose frozen without added sugar. Try combining frozen strawberries and frozen chunks of banana in a food processor to whip up some refreshing “ice cream.”

Growing strawberries at home is a fun and educational family project. Or, head to your local pick-your-own berry farm to harvest strawberries straight from the plant. What could be better than watching your child enjoy a fresh, juicy, healthy strawberry? Just be sure to wash fresh berries before eating.

Try this easy Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade for a bubbly summer refresher bursting with vitamin C.