Whether you have kids at home or work with kids in a preschool setting, one thing you may struggle with is getting kids to try new fruits and vegetables. While kids may eat apples and oranges and occasionally munch on carrots or celery, they’re often resistant to exploring different fruits and vegetables. Because fruits and vegetables are such an important component of healthy eating, it’s crucial that parents and teachers take the time to get kids to try more of these foods.
Highlight a Fruit or Vegetable Each Week
One way to introduce kids to new fruits and vegetables is by highlighting a different fruit or vegetable each week. Start with basic fruits – apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries – and then slowly introduce other fruits such as cherries, mangoes, and pineapple. With vegetables, try starting with sweeter vegetables – sweet potatoes, cooked carrots, peas – and move on to vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, green beans, and spinach.
For each new fruit or vegetable that you introduce, try presenting it to kids in multiple ways. For example, you may have plain pineapple, put pineapple in a smoothie, grill some pineapple, and make a pineapple upside down cake. With asparagus, you may try eating it roasted, cut into small pieces, mixed into pasta, or even lightly blanched and served cold. Kids may discover they like a particular fruit or vegetable one way, but not another.
Get Kids Involved in the Growing and Harvesting Process
When it comes to introducing new fruits and vegetables, kids are often more open to those that they can help grow. If you have space in your home or yard, consider letting kids grow lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, or even strawberries. If you don’t have space to grow anything or have a brown thumb, then take kids to a farm where they can learn about the growing process and pick some fruits or vegetables on their own. Sites like PickYourOwn.org list local farms in the United States and other countries around the world.
Talk about Fruits and Vegetables
The more you talk to kids about fruits and vegetables, the more likely they’ll be to try them. Kids can learn all about fruits and vegetables in the A to Z Fruits and Vegetables book. As they read through the book, kids will discover different types of fruits of vegetables and learn about the different colors and shapes they come in. The facts contained in the book may help entice kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. For example, a girl may say she doesn’t like carrots, but may decide to try them after learning they can help her see in the dark.
Make Fruits and Vegetables Fun
Sometimes kids won’t try broccoli, but they will eat tiny trees that are overtaking a forest. They may not touch peas, but they’ll eat a whole bowl of green alien boogers. Coming up with silly scenarios is just one way to make eating fruits and vegetables fun. Other ways include:
- Creating funny faces with fruits and vegetables
- Playing games, such as trying to see who can finish their broccoli first or trying to toss banana bits into their mouths
- Letting kids play with their food before they eat it
- Hiding the fruit or vegetable in a paper bag and having kids guess what it is
In the A to Z Fruits and Vegetables Riddles book, kids hear a riddle related to each fruit or vegetable. They must then guess what each fruit or vegetable is.
Don’t get discouraged if kids don’t want to try new fruits and vegetables right away. The more you can get kids to interact with different fruits and vegetables, the more likely they are to try them one day. Who knows? Maybe they’ll eventually find a new favorite!