Most babies start out loving fruits and vegetables as some of their first foods. But somewhere during the toddler years, their feelings often change. Or maybe fruits and vegetables fall off your kids’ radar later in childhood. What can you do?
Ways to Help Your Kids Eat Fruits and Vegetables:
- Prepare them in kid-friendly formats. Think of some of your kid’s favorite foods, and then think about how you can make fruits and veggies like those foods. For example, most kids love potato chips. Try making baked kale chips or zucchini chips. Another example is ice cream. Try making homemade mango or strawberry ice cream by blending nonfat greek yogurt with frozen mangoes or strawberries.
- Make them appealing. This sounds like a no-brainer, but consider the difference between a pile of pale green canned green beans or peas compared to fresh, bright green ones arranged into a smiley face or other fun shape. Buying fresh produce makes a big difference in taste and visual appeal- try it and compare the difference yourself.
- Add them into other foods. This is a popular trend, although I don’t advocate sneaking healthy foods into unhealthy ones. Instead, add fruits and vegetables to foods your kids already like. For example, top oatmeal or yogurt with fresh berries. Or cut up peppers to add to chili or enchiladas. Blend spinach into smoothies or spaghetti sauce.
- Be a good role model. This also seems like a no-brainer, but remember that our kids learn just as much from our actions as they do from our words. I tell parents to be the eater that they want their kids to be. And yes, that goes for mom and dad both.
- Expose them in different ways. Depending on how much time and creativity you have, use different media and hands-on activities to get your kids involved and interested about fruits and vegetables. My daughter absolutely loves picking tomatoes from my mom’s garden in the summers. Other ideas are reading books about fruits and vegetables, coloring pictures, and making recipes together.
If eating fruits and vegetables doesn’t come easy to your child, try one or more of my suggestions. If you are still struggling, make an appointment to meet with one of our registered dietitians. We can help with more strategies to improve your child’s nutrition. 877-486-4140.