As a first time mom and dietitian making sure my daughter had a well-rounded diet was a top priority. Introducing fruits & veggies in her diet was initially easy and exciting but as she started teething and developing her own food preferences her excitement towards fruits & veggies changed. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve used to reintroduce fruits & veggies to my daughter that can be helpful for kids at any age.
Texture can be a huge reason why kids don’t like fruits & veggies. My daughter loved fresh strawberries for months until one day she woke up and was repulsed by their sight. While shopping in my neighborhood Trader Joe’s I noticed they had freeze dried strawberries and decided to purchase them for my daughter. When I got home and gave them to her she fell in love! Since that day we always keep a drawer full of freeze dried fruit & veggie snacks. While fresh strawberries were off the table freeze dried stepped in. Eventually her desire to consume fresh strawberries came back. The beauty of these snacks is that they are easy to carry on the go, provide a crunch factor and are finger food that doesn’t make a lot of mess. If you’re having trouble getting your little one to eat fruits & veggies consider changing the texture of vegetable, try frozen broccoli instead of fresh, use canned vegetables and see how they enhance the eating experience.
Kids love activity and being involved. If your child is old enough give them a task suitable for their age that allows them to help in the kitchen. For babies this can be considered sensory play or food introduction. For toddlers this can be rinsing fruits & veggies before cutting. For older kids teaching them how to prep and cut fruits and veggies gives them a sense of responsibility. Try taking your kid to the supermarket or farmers market and give them the opportunity to pick fruits & veggies they want to try that week. Getting them involved in the meal prepping process will increase their curiosity and reduce their hesitancy about trying new foods.
Three years ago I become interested in growing my own food and started a garden. Introducing my daughter to produce grown in her backyard has been joy. While she does not fully understand the concept of what we’re doing she enjoys touching the vegetables we grow and playing in the dirt. Giving your child the responsibility to care for something in hopes to consume it one day is another activity that will for sure increase their interest in consuming fruits & veggies. The beauty of this activity is that it doesn’t simply center the conversation on eating fruits & veggies but helps kids understand where they come from, how they are grown. The excitement of harvest day is like no other!
Be the example! Kids love to immolate what others day. My daughter may not always eat the vegetables off her plate but loves the vegetables on my plate. I take this an opportunity to teach her about sharing and allow her to consume my food. If fruits & veggies available in your home and offered at every meal your child is bound to consume them along with you.
Food is about more than just eating, it’s about convenience, time together, enjoyment, taste and so much more.