Children do not realize the importance of incorporating certain foods in their diet. You may have a challenging time trying to get them to eat more fruits. There is no need to panic. Most of them go through phases of not eating certain foods mainly fruits and vegetables. “Food neophobia” refers to the reluctance of trying out new foods.
Have you had to battle with your kid’s day in and day out at mealtime? They may eat only what they consider tasty and refuse to eat other foods. There are many ways to get them to eat their fruits and vegetables without going off into a tizzy! Here are a few novel tips to help get your children to look forward to eating fruit.
Things to do to get them interested in eating fruits
- Try out different recipes mixing a variety of fruits. Texture and color also play an important role when you are trying to attract children to eating fruits. Some of them may prefer fruits stewed rather than plain or mixed with yoghurt. Observe carefully and you will be able to find out how to get them to eat their fruits.
- Get your child involved in selecting the fruit of their choice. They may prefer to pick up the fruit for the day so make sure you have a good variety of fruits that are just ready to eat. There is no accounting for the fluctuating changes in tastes so be patient and persevere.
- If you have fruits growing in your garden, you could take your child out and ask her to select her own fruit. Take a little basket and allow them the pleasure of plucking berries or small fruit. If you have to pluck fruits from a tree such as apples, make the expedition fun. Get them involved in the fun.
- When you are getting your child ready to select the fruit keep talking about how you can make them into funny shapes. The best way to do this is to keep a few cookie cutters handy. Ask them which cutter to use and make sure you keep such items safely out of their reach. You can ask them to help you spread the jams or jellies instead.
- Treat your child to a shopping spree every now and then. Allow them to pick up the fruits of their choice. Children are attracted to color and textures and will enjoy selecting fruits from the wide variety available out there. Gently stop them from reaching out for snacks that are not healthy. Get them to help you store them in the fridge or cut up fruit and let them know where they can lay their hands on them.
- Cut up a bowl of fresh fruit and keep it in a place where they can help themselves. Do not chop up large quantities but just sufficient to get them to eat a few. You can always cut up more if you find the fruit from the bowl disappearing.
- Add fresh or dried fruits such as bananas or raisins to cereals. Berries make pancakes look more appealing. Camouflage the fruits by chopping them into tiny bits and adding it to the pancake batter or placing them between two slices of bread.
- If your children love sorbets you can make them with real fruits or purchase them from a grocery store. Check the labels to ensure that they are not made from synthetic products. To make a sorbet, just add the fruits of your choice with a little milk or cream and blitz till smooth.
- Your child may prefer dried fruit instead of fresh ones. These make great snacks and provide good nutritional value. Pack some of these in their lunch boxes and they will enjoy munching on them.
- Try smearing avocado instead of butter on sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches in different shapes and fill them with a spread of fruit jellies.
- Prepare fruit smoothies using fresh fruits that are in season. Add some yoghurt and nuts for increasing the nutritional value. Try serving them with some attractive straws and you will find them reaching out eagerly for one.
- You should observe the combinations that they prefer. For instance your child may dip the berries in yoghurt before eating them or prefer to dunk them in milk. Once you know their preferences you can ensure that these items are available at all times.
Things to avoid when encouraging kids to eat fruits
- The worst thing you can do is to talk about their being picky eaters especially in front of guests. This only encourages their determination to avoid certain fruits.
- Before eating a meal, refrain from offering anything sugary sweet to eat or drink. Water is the best drink you can give your child. If you are innovative you can try making visually appealing faces using fruit which will draw their attention and encourage them to eat the fruit
- Do not pressurize children to eat anything. Instead try to make eating fruits a fun activity. At a tender age, get them to enjoy eating frozen fruits that have been blitzed together or smoothies that have a yummy natural sugary taste
- There is no guarantee that your child may eat the same fruit in the same manner again. It can be exasperating but you have to be patient and try out different sneaky ways to make fruits palatable enough so that children eat them.
- Try not to keep junk food around the home. Instead pick up more fruits and vegetables so that they eat healthy
- It is important to persevere and never give up. Never force foods on your child or there will be a natural aversion which may last for years. Instead try to be their role model. Let them see how you enjoy eating fruits and look forward to eating it as a dessert. Curiosity generally gets the better of children and they may surprise you when they suddenly begin to enjoy eating fruits.