Carla Defuria Powell
Carla Defuria Powell

With ever-increasing busy schedules as school starts back up, it is challenging to make sure your family is getting balanced meals throughout the day. Fruits and vegetables are imperative for different age groups to nourish their bodies. Carla Defuria Powell, registered dietitian & health coach at Flagler Health+, believes, “adequate nutrient-dense foods are important for us all to be eating because they provide us with essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids (that form protein), fatty acids and more.”

Below are a few tips to ensure eating fruits and vegetables doesn’t feel like a chore to your young ones and to help the whole family receive all their benefits.

  1. Keep fruit where you can see it. By placing several ready-to-eat washed whole fruits in a bowl on the counter or cut-up ones prepped in the refrigerator, the daunting task of preparing them is eliminated. Children are also more likely to try fruits when commonly seen and talked about.

  2. Explore the produce aisle and choose something new. “Variety and color are key to a healthy diet,” says Powell. “When going to the grocery store, try and get one serving from each of the following categories: dark green leafy vegetables; yellow or orange fruits and vegetables; red fruits and vegetables; legumes and peas; and citrus fruits.” If you have your littles with you while shopping, let them pick out something that interests them so they feel more involved in trying something new.

  3. Make it a meal. Salads, soups and stir-fries are all great examples of meals that you can easily incorporate multiple vegetables to bulk up the volume.

  4. Switch up your prep method. Air fry, roast or grill vegetables to make them crunchy and bring out their natural sweetness.

  5. Add fruits and vegetables to smoothies. Smoothies are a great way to add hidden fruits and vegetables to your picky one’s diet. You can make them a balanced snack by adding protein and healthy fat while tasting great!

A balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits has many benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, less risk of digestive problems and help in balancing blood sugars. Defuria Powell and the Nutrition & Health Coaching team at Flagler Health+ can help create individual health plans, assist with guided grocery shopping and teach skills to empower you to make the best health changes for you and your family that will last a lifetime. To request information or set an appointment, visit or call 904-819-3232.