Have a kid who turns their nose up at veggies? Here’s one of the easiest way to encourage fruits and vegetables for kids who tend to who refuse them.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
- Great starter vegetables for kids
- How to help kids pick their own fruits and vegetables
- Keeping your preferences from influencing your kids
GREAT STARTER VEGETABLES FOR KIDS
Some kids are totally against green food. It’s a fact of life that I am thankful I have only had to deal with once in a while when my son is feeling P-I-C-K-Y.
Yep, we spell it out because that’s a dirty word in our house. Actually it’s because we are trying not to give our kids that label when they’re just going through a phase of wanting to control what they eat.
But there are a few green vegetables that kids are often more likely to try.
Cucumbers and sugar snap peas have a mild and sweet flavor with a fun crunch that kids usually love. You can also cut cucumbers into fun shapes with mini cookie cutters. I love these little cutters!
Cucumbers are also a great vegetable to introduce your kids to before they have all their teeth. You can chill them, cut them into long sticks, and scoop out the seeds to make great edible teething soothers for swollen gums.
HOW TO HELP YOUR KIDS PICK THEIR OWN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
The easiest way to encourage fruits and vegetables for kids is to let them pick their own.
Whenever we had friends staying with us as kids, my mom would take us to the local fruit stand and let us pick as many fruits and vegetables as we wanted, as long as they fit into the hand basket. We would run around grabbing peaches, star fruit, kiwis, one of every apple variety, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, rainbow carrots.
We were like kids in a candy store, only we got to actually eat everything we wanted without feeling sick after!
Sometimes our friends parents would be with us, and would tell my mom in a concerned voice that it would all go bad and there was no way we would eat all of that.
Back at the house she would cut everything up into bite sized pieces, arrange it on platters, and then give us cute little animal topped fruit picks. We would spend the next hour, playing, talking, and devouring every last fruit and vegetable.
Now that I’m a mom, I do something similar with my kids. When we go to the grocery store, they each get to pick one fruit and one vegetable to eat that day.
Larkin picked a cucumber and was then so excited about it that she didn’t care to pick a fruit. Corban picked a mango, and a yellow summer squash.
When we got home, it was nap time, so I really hyped up the fruits and veggies as their treat for after naps.
Corban knew he loved mango so dove right in. You can see Larkin wasn’t quite sure at first, but I was acting so excited about it, that she decided it was worth trying.
And she loves it!
I wasn’t sure about the yellow squash. They’d both tried it before, and spit it out, but it was cooked that time so I was hopeful they would eat it raw, especially since they picked it out. Sure enough, they both loved it and ate the entire squash. Larkin started clapping which means she really REALLY liked the squash.
Corban even turned one of his slices into a ring and started eating them as rings after that.
He also wanted a picture of our rings together. I love how he has started telling me what he wants photos or videos of when we cook and play with food!
Don’t be afraid to let your kids pick a fruit or veggie that they’ve previously turned down. There are so many things that can change their response to a food, from the number of times they’ve tried it, to how it’s prepared, to the simple fact that they’re three weeks older!
KEEPING YOUR PREFERENCES FROM INFLUENCING YOUR KIDS
One of the most important tips for encouraging fruits and vegetables for kids is to not let your bias influence your kiddos.
I cannot tell you how many times I have done cooking classes, or food samples at festivals, and had parents tell their kids, “Oh you won’t like that.” Their child immediately went from excited to try a healthy recipe, to uninterested.
I knew my kids had never liked yellow squash before, but I was careful not to react and to let them feel empowered by their choice.
It’s also important not to refuse a food for your child just because you don’t like it. I’ve never really been a big fan of melon (except watermelon), so never offered it to my kids when it was on a fruit platter. Then one day I realized that they had never actually tried it.
Turns out, they love melon, and now I’ve actually found some more varieties that I like too, simply because I set aside my bias to let them form their own opinions and taste preferences.
Have your kids ever surprised you with a fruit or vegetables they ended up loving? Let us know in the comments!
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