Food Foundations

The Truth About Fruit

Food Foundations News Sub Food Foundations News

There is a wide variety of fruit available in Australia. The main distinguishing nutrients in fruit are vitamin c and dietary fibre, with smaller amounts of carbohydrates, folate, beta-carotene and potassium. Edible skins are especially high in fibre; however fibre is also high in the flesh as well.

Including fruit in the diet each day may help to reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, including heart disease and some cancers. All fresh, frozen, and canned fruits fall within this group, however canned varieties should be in fruit juice as opposed to syrup. Fruit juices also belong in this group; however they usually lose some of the fibre found in fresh fruit (fruit juice is not recommended in early years settings). The high acidity in fruit juice can lead to dental erosion if consumed frequently. Dried fruit can also be used; however it has a lower water content and is also more energy dense.  It is encouraged to eat dried fruit with other foods to increase saliva production in the mouth to reduce the effect of the ‘stickiness’ of dried fruit on the teeth.

How much fruit is needed?

  Age Fruit Serves Required
Infants 7 – 12 months

½ serve per day

(where 1 serve = 20g)

Toddlers 1 – 2

½ serve per day

(where 1 serve = 150g)

Boys 2-3 1
  4 – 8 1 ½
Girls 2-3 1
  4 – 8 1 ½

 

A serve of fruit equals:

–          Approximately 150g

  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
  • 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
  • 1 cup diced or canned fruit (with no added sugar)
  • ½  cup 100% fruit juice (no added sugar)
  • 30g dried fruit (for example 4 dried apricot halves or 1 ½ teaspoons of sultanas

As seen in the above table, young children should only be consuming approximately 1 serve of fruit per day. If they are to receive approximately 50% of their daily intake whilst in care, this equates to ½ – ¾ of a serve. One way to ensure children don’t consume excessive amounts of fruit is to have a wide variety of other foods available, such as breads/sandwiches, wholegrain crackers, and mixed vegetables with low fat dips.

Interestingly, the recommended serves of fruit has decreased and the recommended serves of vegetables has increased since the last Australian Dietary Guidelines were released. If you would like to comment on the fruit serves for children, let us know at [email protected]  For more information, phone 07 3257 4393.