As most parents know, getting kids to eat fruits and vegetables can sometimes be quite a battle. But don't give up. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with key nutrients, so they are even more important to a healthy diet.

In addition, a recent study done by Tufts University found that fruit and vegetable intake decreased as children got older-and most kids eat less than half the servings of fruits and vegetables they need.

Use these helpful tips to encourage your child to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Give them some control

  • Let your child choose the vegetable they want with dinner.

Keep it colorful

  • Kids love color and variety-and fruits and vegetables are a natural source of color.

Have your child help you prepare dinner

  • Even very young children can wash a vegetable or learn to set the table.

Make eating dinner fun

  • Have your family sit at the table together and talk about the things you each did during the day.

Mix it up

  • Add vegetables to foods your kids like-broccoli in macaroni and cheese or peanut butter on celery-and then give it a fun name, like "ants on a log" or "monster mash."

Talk about the food they are eating

  • Ask your child to tell you what they like about it or don't like.

Choose fruit that is easy for children to eat

  • Grapes that are washed and off the vine, fruit cocktail and orange sections are good options.

Make dessert fruit

  • Cinnamon applesauce, a peach crisp or fruit over frozen yogurt are all ways to get one extra serving in.

Add a can

  • Many canned fruits and vegetables are nutritionally comparable to their cooked fresh and frozen counterparts. Plus, canned foods are available year round so the can easily be used in your child's favorite healthy meal or snack.
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