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Making Fruits and Veggies More Palatable for Kids

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The key to getting children to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables may be in the slicing.

Ninety-one percent of school food-service directors believe that children will more readily consume apples, pears, avocados and other fruits and vegetables if they are sliced -- as long as they don't turn brown and unappetizing.

It's not that kids don't like fruits and vegetables, but braces and missing teeth, along with small mouths, can make biting into a whole, juicy apple a little forbidding.

And oxidation, which can change the taste and the appearance of cut fruit, often turns off children and adults. Who wants to eat a shriveled, brown, bite-size piece of apple, even if it does fit nicely in the mouth?

NatureSeal, a product to seal raw edges and keep sliced fruit fresh, should be available soon in the produce sections of major supermarkets.

NatureSeal has been used in school cafeterias since 2001 and was used in packaging some fresh produce before that but is just now becoming available in individual retail packs.

It is a vitamin-mineral blend designed to protect apples, pears and avocados against deterioration in taste, color and texture -- for up to five days after slicing. A quick check in the Fort Worth area found no stores carrying it yet, but distributors say it should be here in the next few months. Some out-of-state Krogers and Albertsons have it.

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