The holidays tempt us all with the prospect of never ending sweets and treats, including our children. I was having a chat with a Mom from the girls’ school the other day about how to get your kids to eat more fruit and veggies. The girls and I were having a quick snack of broccoli and mini peppers. The fact is, the girls love fruit and vegetables. I don’t have to bribe them to eat healthy or even nag them to do so. If you ask my girls what their favorite vegetable is, Tilly will tell you Brussels sprouts; Bea will tell you broccoli. They choose great snacks, eat well-rounded meals, and are not picky eaters. I’m going to take this post as an opportunity to let you in on why.
How to get your kids to eat more fruit and veggies is a lot simpler than you may think.
Eat More Fruit and Veggies
The first way to get your kids to eat more fruit and veggies is a given! You know how your little ones watch everything you do? Like to the point where you have no privacy anymore?! No matter what I am eating Tilly will come running up to me and ask, “What are you eating, Mom?”. That question is always followed with, “Can I have some?”. And there you have it. First step in getting kids to eat more fruit and veggies is to eat them yourself in front of the children. Think about it, why would they choose fruit and veggies if they don’t see you doing so?
Take Your Kids Grocery Shopping
Another simple way to get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies is to take them with you when you go grocery shopping. But let them be involved in the process. As I mentioned in, Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, the girls and I have a game every time we go to the grocery store. To foster healthy eating habits, get your kids involved in choosing the food. Make it fun! When we walk into the produce section, they get to choose an ingredient that I’ll then create a recipe around. This opens up those curious minds to new food. Plus, it’s a great way for me to come up with new dishes. It’s teamwork at its finest!
Remember, they can’t try new fruits and veggies if they don’t get the opportunity. And you will be amazed at the how excited they get when holding a unique looking fruit like a Dragon fruit. And the awe of that bright pink flesh was a dream come true for these two pink-loving girls! They couldn’t wait to eat the Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl that I then prepared the next day.
For fun every season, go to your local orchards for apple picking and more!
Keep Fruit and Vegetables In Plain View
One of the easiest ways to get your kids to eat more fruits an veggies is to keep it in plain sight in the spot everyone sits in the kitchen. Since I am always at the island in our kitchen, the girls sit there with me. So I notice that whenever I keep our fruit basket planted on that island, they will eat from it each time they sit there. Whether they are coloring, chatting, or helping me cook, guaranteed they will be eating a fruit or veggie from that basket. Imagine, if food is at eye level and within hands reach, wouldn’t you be tempted?
To keep this plain sight method going, do this in multiple places. Bea’s way of wanting snack is to tell me she wants “something in the fridge”. So I keep all the bright, good stuff right in her line of sight and view. Then when I open the fridge, she is looking right at those colorful mini peppers or cut up melon. As kids grow, so does their independence. Being able to get it herself is a big deal. Since I bake so much, I keep all that out of sight and out of reach until it’s dessert time for all!
What’s great about this method, is that I don’t need to hound the kids to eat fruits and veggies. They do it on their own this way. Furthermore, mealtime is less nagging to eat and more time spent chatting.
What I mean by this is, when the girls snack on veggies during the day, I’m not as concerned about them eating their whole serving of veggies at dinner. It doesn’t matter when they eat the vegetables. What is important is that fresh vegetables are worked in somehow, even if it’s through snacks throughout the day.
Let Them Eat Cake!
Eating cake can be a good thing! Here are a couple of tasty ways to get kids to eat more fruit and veggies.
A great way to get your kids to eat fruit and veggies is to incorporate fresh vegetables right into their desserts. Try this, Chocolate Zucchini Cake! I have heard about people “hiding” veggies in food to get their kids to eat more fruits and veggies. I don’t do that! I’m all for the curiosity and knowledge that comes with knowing what you’re eating and encouraging it. Vegetable forward cakes are just an extra bonus of being chock full of veggies.
And just let them eat cake! I have noticed that for myself, if I think I can’t eat something I just want it more. Everything in moderation! So the girls get dessert, but it’s never as a reward for eating healthy food that day. They just get a little dessert because it’s delicious and eating Sweet Potato Cupcakes With Marshmallow Buttercream is nothing to be ashamed of! Don’t associate negative feelings with sweets, just limit them.
Eat The Colors
Purple carrots, pink Dragon Fruit, yellow pepper, and more! Bring on those vibrant colors and get kids curious by the visual appeal of fresh fruits and vegetables. #eatthecolors is a huge hashtag for a reason! Fruit and veggies have natural beauty and such a wide assortment of bright colors.
Food For Thought
Did you know that Whole Foods and many other stores will allow you to sample fruits and veggies in their produce department? So the next time your kids want to eat those cherries or grapes or cucumbers before you buy them, go ask a produce specialist for a handful. They will happily oblige. Furthermore, many grocery stores put free fruit out for kids. So instead of giving them a free cookie from the bakery, opt for the healthier choice.
Grow A Garden
I wish I had a green thumb! This tip is admittedly not for all of us. However, the idea of planting and growing their very own vegetables gives children great pleasure! The girls and I attempt to grow herbs and veggies every year. We have so-so luck, with it… We still have our lavender plant. spearmint, and rosemary going strong. Next, we will move our focus to kale and zucchini! Check out this article on growing a garden with your kids, https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/children/children-and-vegetable-gardens.htm
Read About Food
There are awesome books out there for kids that bring fresh fruit and vegetables to life before their eyes. Reading about food is a great step in how to get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies. Seeing the vivid pictures and learning the sounds of each food has so many benefits besides helping you get your kids to eat fruits and veggies!
Cook With Your Kids!
Cooking with Bea and Tilly is my favorite thing to do. I cooked right alongside of my Mom since I can remember. This created a deep love of ingredients and how they work in harmony with others.
When cooking with children, you will notice that they will want to sample vegetables and fruit in their raw form. Even Brussels sprouts will get a taste! And if they don’t like it, that’s ok. The point is that they are at least trying the foods. This is such a wonderful way to help picky eaters explore.
When we whip up pasta sauce, I always include veggies like mushrooms or eggplant. I give each of the girls a mushroom to hold while I am chopping the rest. They will use all of their senses during this experience. They see the food, smell, touch, squeeze, break apart, crunch, and taste them. Cooking is full of sensory experiences. And just think of the wonder they will have as they watch you slicing, sauteing, saucing, and sweetening! With such a big world and so much to learn, be the teacher.
How Do You Get Your Kids To Eat More Fruits And Veggies?
I would love to hear from you about your own methods on how to get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies! My favorite ideas will get put into future posts and/or edited into this one!