(CNN) -Colorful fruits and vegetables are an essential source of nutrients for children.
Because fruits and vegetables get their color from naturally occurring micronutrients, eating a variety of colors helps kids get what they need to thrive.
Cleveland Clinic registered dietitian Diana Defabio says dieticians encourage kids to eat healthy by telling them to 'eat the rainbow.'
"So, the rainbow really gives us different colors that all have what we call phytochemicals, which are different aspects of the plant that provide health benefits," Defabio said.
The vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies help kids grow and give them energy, and the foods that have the most color are often the most nutrient-rich. She says when you're planning your child's plate, be sure to include as many different colors as possible per meal. Of course, getting your child to eat healthy can be a bit of a challenge if you have a picky eater. She says that finding foods similar to the foods your child already eats will help.
"So, sometimes an easy way to kind of start incorporating those is find things that are in the same family. So if they like carrots, maybe squash would be another option, or sweet potatoes," Defabio suggested.
The key is to get kids involved in meal planning is to get them excited about trying new foods, rather than making them feel like they're being forced to eat anything.
In other health news, March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and the Cancer Centers of Southwest Oklahoma in Lawton, Duncan and Altus are offering free colon cancer screening kits through the end of the month. Visit any of the three locations to pick yours up or inquire about all of your screening options.