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Grow your own fruit and vegies for good health

June 9, 2021 6:15PM Kids News

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Nicholas and Olivia work in their school vegetable garden. Picture: Scott Radford-Chisholm media_cameraNicholas and Olivia work in their school vegetable garden. Picture: Scott Radford-Chisholm

ask healthy harold

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Kids can grow stronger from the ground up by planting gardens with plenty of great fruit and vegetables.

Healthy Harold says children can get many wonderful benefits from gardening, including physical activity, improved wellbeing and, of course, learning how to grow healthy food.

Don’t forget that growing healthy food means you need good quality soil full of lots of nutrients.

Healthy soil is also really good for the environment, so you might want to work on building a compost pile as well to feed the soil, which can then feed the vegetables and fruit before they feed you!

Healthy Harold loves growing good gardens. For Kids News media_cameraHealthy Harold loves growing good gardens.

Don’t forget, some plants do better than others in the colder months.

Harold has discovered vegetables that thrive in winter include:

  • cabbage
  • onions
  • turnips
  • potatoes
  • spinach
  • broad beans
  • carrots
  • silver beet
  • leeks
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
Fresh vegetables in wicker basket. (Pic: Thinkstock) media_cameraHealthy Harold says growing your own fruit and vegetables has many benefits.

With the sun lower in winter, make sure your garden gets lots of sunlight – and avoid using chemicals and herbicides.

You can grow healthy, organic vegetables using your own fertiliser from compost and a mulch or drip irrigation system to save water.

If you want to protect your garden from pests be sure to also plant herbs, such as sage, basil and lavender. These herbs smell and taste horrible to the pests – and the insects will then leave the rest of your garden alone.

Healthy Harold and Life Education are giving your school the chance to make its very own super healthy garden, with the chance to win a Growing Good Gardens Grant.

There are 10 x $1000 grants up for grabs, and one lucky winner will have their grant doubled to $2000.

Parents, teachers, coaches and community leaders can apply for a grant at

Winners will be announced July 27.

In the meantime, Healthy Harold has answered a few recent questions about healthy eating from Kids News readers:

What can vegetarian do to eat to get more iron?
What a great question! We often hear that people need to eat meat to get iron. While it is a good source, there are so many other foods that have iron and give our bodies other healthy nutrients as well!

You have probably heard that dark leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli have lots of iron, but did you know fruits and nuts also have loads of iron?

Some foods high in iron are: nuts (cashews, pistachios, almonds and walnuts), all types of beans (and peas), lentils and chickpeas.

Lots of iron can also be found in Tofu and most soy products, as well as seeds like sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and chia seeds.

I love fruit and vegetables, so apricots, figs, prunes and watermelon are great sources too. I also love orange foods like pumpkin and sweet potato.

If you love cooking with flavour, lots of common herbs and spices used in cooking are also high in iron.

It’s important to remember that the body has to work a little harder to get the iron out of vegetarian sources, so including a variety of these foods often in our meals is key!

Fun fact: vitamin C found in foods like tomatoes and oranges actually help our bodies to unlock that iron. How cools is that! Let me know what foods you might like to try!

SA child Sam Earl holding bowl of fruit and eating an apple 17 May 2000.  p/ media_cameraHealthy Harold recommends eating a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables like Sam from South Australia. Picture: Martin Dean

How many fruit and vegetables should you have a day?
I have just come in from my vegie garden to make some lunch, so your question is great timing!

As you might have learnt during your visits to the Life Education van, fruit and vegetables do so many great things for our bodies, like providing a whole host of minerals and vitamins that help the body grow and function properly. This is why it is important that children eat between two and five serves of vegies every day, and one to two serves of fruit per day, depending on your age.

A vegetable serving size is around 75g, while fruit serving sizes are around 150g. Serving sizes can be tricky to measure, so as an try ½ cup of cooked green or orange vegetables, 1 cup of green leafy or raw salad vegetables, two small fruits or one medium per serve.

Different fruit and vegetables can help protect the body in different ways, so it’s important to choose a variety of colours every day: green (such as apples and broccoli), orange (such as oranges and my favourite CARROTS), yellow and red (such as strawberries and tomatoes), purple (blueberries and beetroot), and white (cauliflower and mushrooms).

Remember that you don’t always have to rely on fresh fruit or vegies: frozen, canned or dried varieties are all suitable too.

Dried fruit and vegies, however, can stick to the teeth and increase the risk of tooth decay so should only be consumed occasionally.

When it comes to choosing canned or dried fruit and vegies, check the ingredients list and choose those with reduced or no added salt, no added fat or sugar, and choose natural juices over syrup if you can.

Also, it is a good idea to limit fried vegetables such as potato and vegetable chips. These do not fall into the vegetable food group but are classed as “occasional” or “extra” foods.

Some of my favourite fruit and vegetable meals that I like to make are ‘rainbow sandwiches’ for lunch and ‘fruit kebabs’ for afternoon tea. YUM!

So, remember, eating two to five serves of vegetables and one to two serves of fruit a day is a great way to help you live a healthy lifestyle!

Hmmm … all this talk about these yummy foods is making me hungry. I hope this helped answer you question, I am going to eat my lunch now, bye!

If you have a question for Healthy Harold, you can ask it by clicking HERE. Please don’t include names and personal information about yourself or others. It’s important we respect everyone’s privacy.

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