More Fruits and Veggies? Yes, Please!

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Full transparency here: As a Registered Dietitian, I made an intentional plan to introduce our kids to as many foods as possible at a young age. This creates experience, it broadens their palate, it opens their mind to new things and allows them to explore.

Both of our daughters tried 100 foods before they turned one! They never really said no…until they did.

Some more transparency: I’m also a parent. My husband and I are still trying to figure things out some days. When it comes to our kids eating, there is never a day that is the same. That can be frustrating at times, but it also allows us to let them learn how to try new foods (or foods they don’t want to try) in a different way.

When it comes to trying more fruits and vegetables, some kids go for it! Others do not – and that is ok. Read on for some of my tips to introduce or keep the exploration going.

Introducing Fruits & Veggies to Kids

Let your kids help. Allow your kids to see you in the kitchen making a meal or snack. Ask if they want to help and set them up with the tools to do so in a safe manner. Help them reach the counter by adding a kitchen tower and safe knives to practice cutting. Even if they are really young, you can put them in a high chair and give them measuring spoons or cups to play with. Allow them to view the food and talk to them about it. Check out my previous blog to help with this, Get Your Kids in the Kitchen!

Give them the option to make choices. As a parent, you are going to save time and money by offering the same food to everyone, and not making separate meals for each person. Offering choices comes with that. For example, questions for taco night could be:

  • “I have avocado slices and mashed avocado, made into guacamole. Should we try both?”
  • “Do you want me to sprinkle the lettuce on top, or would you like to try?”
  • “Here are the diced tomatoes. Do you want to add them to your plate or to your taco?”

Engage in conversation about food. Most of us are taught to have very good table manners, which is important. You can still teach that and have fun! Ask your kids questions about the food they are eating. Don’t make it about the food being good and if they are eating it, but instead, pose questions that make them think and look at the food differently:

  • “My pepper is crunchy; listen! Do you hear the crunch? Does your pepper crunch like that?”
  • “Do you have something green on your plate? Oh, it is a melon! Let’s try it together. Cheers!” (you can even “clink” your food together). 
  • “Aha! Mrs. Rabbit brought us carrots! What color are they? How are they different from crunchy carrots?”

Create a new way to try fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, kids may just not want to try a new food because of how it looks. My oldest daughter always wants me to cut the tops off of her strawberries, and she refuses to eat pepper strips. She will however, take an entire pepper and eat it like an apple. You could make round slices in a vegetable, cut strips, and make bites. Offer them all and see which one they gravitate towards. Another fun way to incorporate this practice is by using cookie cutters and animal forks to make it even more exciting. This offers them a shape they haven’t seen in a fruit or vegetable yet, and maybe they want to use the lion to pick up the apple slice, with a big “roar”!

Don’t feel overwhelmed if you haven’t been able to start anything like this. Just like your kids try new foods, as parents, we can take small steps to give them options and opportunities. It may not happen overnight; but the hard work and dedication pays off as you and your kids can enjoy more fruits and vegetables together.

What tips do you have to get your kids to try new things? 


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