May 21, 2012 by Melissa
I’m lucky enough to have a toddler who eats her fruits and vegetables. I know not everyone is so blessed and many parents I know spend a lot of time worrying about the nutrition intake of their kids. While I worry about other things where Lucy is concerned, nutrition isn’t one of them. I have several friends who have recently asked me what I did to get Lucy to love her fruits and veggies and I don’t think I’ve done more than most parents but I thought I’d share what I have done. I personally feel that Lucy just has different taste buds than most kids-she likes broccoli, for instance, and most adults find that too bitter-but there are a few things I could share. They happened to work with Lucy but probably won’t work with Alice. I’ll keep you posted on that.
First of all, the trip to the grocery store’s produce section was one of exploration and discovery. It’s good that the produce was at the front at my grocery store so we hit that first while my patience and the girls’ interest is still relatively high. Since Lucy could sit upright in the cart, and now with Alice, I pick up various things and let them look at it, smell it, and sometimes touch it. I’m animated as all get out, too, to get them interested. “Wow! Look at these lemons! How pretty! And they smell fantastic, don’t they?” While I may seem a little crazy to the people around me, the girls love it.
Second, I let Lucy pick several fruits and veggies and there are always a few things she wants to try out. I usually am on board with that. We’ve had lots of discoveries that way-she has decided lately that she loves avocado because that’s what she picked for Alice to try next as she’s discovering solid food on her own. I also let her pick which fruit and veggie we have for meals. She doesn’t often get to pick the entrée but she can pick out the side dishes.
Also, we had a CSA membership last summer and each week was like Christmas morning in our house. She couldn’t wait to get home to see what surprises were in the box that week and learn what each type of veggie, fruit, or herb was in there. She smelled them all, organized them, and learned their names. She also learned how to clean and prepare several items: peeling shallots, shucking corn, cleaning potatoes. It was an awesome way to discover new foods.
I don’t know if any of this made her enjoy her fruits and veggies more. Again, I think she is naturally more inclined to like them more, but you can try these in your own family and see if they work. I’d love to hear if you find success or not.
What have you done to help your kids along? Do you have two or more really different eaters in the house?