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Monday, June 24, 2019

10 Tips for Making Fruits and Vegetables More Appealing to Kids (and You!)

Photo by muammerokumus (Flickr)

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, so let's talk about food! For many kids, fruits and vegetables aren't the most exciting foods, and some of us adults aren't always that great about getting in our daily servings, either. If this sounds like you, maybe you just haven't found a way to jazz them up! I hope I can supply some tips below that might help you nurture your love for healthy fruits and veggies. Since kids aren't known for being the biggest health food enthusiasts, try these tips out with them, too, and help them get an appreciation for fruits and veggies. I've used these tips to drastically reduce the complaints I hear from my girls when veggies and fruits are served.

  1. Get your kids involved with cooking! For a lot of kids, cooking is fun, and they like spending time with you to create dishes the whole family can enjoy. Not only will they learn new skills and hopefully help you out with your meal prep, but kids are far more likely to eat something they helped create. They'll have a real sense of pride in having helped make the meal, and the fruits and veggies will go down the hatch.
  2. Keep your kids' favorite foods in mind. It's usually pretty easy to sneak fruits or vegetables into the favorite dishes. My kids love pizza and tacos, two things that are pretty easy to sneak more servings of vegetables into. You can also sprinkle fresh fruit on cereal or get creative with dishes like mac and cheese or lasagna, which are easy to sneak veggies into.
  3. Go a little easier on your kids' veggie-eating habits. If they at least eat some of their veggies, they should get some praise. Forcing them to clean their plate often just puts them off vegetables even more.
  4. If you're trying to expand their horizons, serve a fruit or vegetable your child already enjoys along with something new for them to try. If they only like carrots, serve them but try mixing in peas, too. If they put strawberries on their oatmeal, why not slice up a few bananas for them to try with them?
  5. Start serving fruits and vegetables early in their lives. Kids develop their tastes pretty young. Introducing fruits and vegetables as soon as it's safe to do so will make them more likely to eat them without complaint later.
  6. Embrace the veggie love yourself. Your kids are looking up to you, and if they see you enjoying fruits and vegetables with a smile, they won't want to miss out!
  7. Break out the butter. A lot of kids dislike leafy greens because of their bitterness, and butter can counteract that. Sure, we should limit butter in our diets, but it's far better to use butter if gets kids to eat veggies, and butter does have nutritional value, including vitamins A and D. The extra fat can also help their bodies to absorb the vitamins in the vegetables.
  8. Visit a community garden and pick your own fruits and vegetables. Choosing and harvesting your own produce can make it more appealing to eat it later on.
  9. Stoop to a reward system if you have to. Making kids eat their vegetables in order to earn their dessert is a time-tested tactic that often works.
  10. Make some tasty dip! Whether you're serving fruits or vegetables, there's usually a dip that will make kids more excited to eat them. Kids seem to love dipping sauces, and there are a lot of healthy yogurt-based recipes that are easy to make.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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