Remember when the kids were so young, you could feed them all the fruits and veggies they needed with no fuss (okay… there still may have been a few tears but all babies cry, right)?
But then something happened as the years went on and those “yucky” green foods became a nightmare at mealtime. It happened to us growing up and now it’s happening to our kids! But why should we eat more fruits and vegetables in the first place?
Yes, they’re full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber (as many of us know). But did you know that eating lots of fruits and veggies can also help keep weight under control for adults? They’re also packed with phytonutrients that can fight off chronic diseases. And if that’s not enough of a reason to start filling your plate, fruits and veggies help our kids grow, stay energetic, and perform better in school!
Now that you know the reasons for eating fruits and vegetables for you AND your kiddos, you’re ready to whip up some healthy meals jam-packed with colorful produce, right? If only it were that simple. We know many kids (and even adults) struggle to get their servings of fruits and veggies in for one simple reason — THEY DON’T LIKE THEM!
But we’re here to change that. Try some of these tips and techniques to get you on track.
Start with our Game
Vital Monster are cute monsters made of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. You can enjoy this little adventure and help Aaron and Flora to free their grandma from the evil Noxomonsters. In this funny game you can learn interesting facts about fruits and veggies, nuts and legumes and if you want, you can also battle offline against your friends.
If you want to find out more about the Story of the Vital Monsters, you can also buy the Comic. Here is a promo code for you: VITAL20M511. With your purchase you support us in the development of this project.
THANK YOU 🙂
Continue with a Produce Scavenger Hunt
Picking up food for the week? Make it a family event! Start a scavenger hunt with your kids in the produce section by choosing a fruit or vegetable they haven’t tried yet and giving your children clues about this new “mystery item.” Examples of clues could be the color, shape, size, or first letter in the name. Or just have the kids pick out an unfamiliar item in the produce section they want to try, even if it is new to you.
Make It a Kids’ Choice Night
When kids have a choice in what they can eat, the more likely they are to eat it! So get your young ones involved in meal planning. Give them options of vegetables that can be added to dinner or fruits for desserts and let them pick! Try this at least one night a week to keep them involved as much as possible.
Use Fruits and Veggies As The Platter
Want a delicious way to sneak in more veggies that also save on clean-up time? Make your vegetable a bowl for your next meal. This fun trick is a creative way to introduce new produce in a different way to your kids. For example this Quinoa and Vegetable Stuffed Pepper or a DIY Potato Skins Bar!
Mix Them Into Favorite Meals
While fruit might be a bit tricky for this tip, vegetables are versatile enough to mix in anywhere! Simply make sure the seasoning matches and the textures are similar when incorporating them into new recipes. For example, mixing zucchini noodles with pasta or cauliflower with mashed potatoes! An even easier way to mix healthy produce into your favorite meals is Pizza Night! Add shredded carrots, chopped spinach, and more to pizza and sauces.
Introduce (and Re-introduce) New Foods Often
Consistency is key to helping your kids become better self-regulators with their food intake. The more regularly they see a variety of fruits and vegetables in their everyday diet, the more likely they will grow to enjoy a variety of foods. Keep in mind that the taste of a fruit or vegetable can vary greatly from one recipe to the next, particularly when raw versus cooked. If your first try with a new produce item doesn’t work out, try something new the next time!
Change-Up The Appearance
In line with the re-introduction of fresh produce, changing up the appearance can be a great way to re-introduce fruits and veggies that didn’t go over so well last time. Oven-frying makes for some tasty, crunchy vegetables, and a little cheese here and there doesn’t hurt either. Appearance is important, so make them look ‘fun’ when first introducing new produce. Then keep trying! Try veggies warm, cold, frozen, roasted, steamed, sautéed, with dip, in different shapes, etc!
Enjoy The Experience of Preparing Healthy Meals
The more kids are involved in the process, the more willing they are to try their creations. Have them season their veggies with their favorite flavors, assemble skewers of fruit and cheese kababs, or ask for help with a vegetable pasta salad. Allow your children to use their wild imaginations to come up with fun snacks using a variety of fruits and vegetables.
And Most Importantly, Eat YOUR Veggies!
Be the inspiration your kids need to try new foods and get cooking in the kitchen! Children are aware of their parent’s eating habits and will sometimes behave similarly to their parents. Take advantage of this opportunity to model healthy eating habits, especially at snack time, when fruit and vegetable consumption is likely to be poor.
How Many Fruits and Vegetables Do My Kids Need?
Depending on their age, we should strive for at least 1-2 cups of fruit and 1-2 cups of vegetables for our children. A cup is equal to an apple, orange, pear, or medium banana. 8 strawberries, 3 small plums, and 32 grapes make a cup of some of the smaller fruit. A medium potato, 12 baby carrots, 2 big celery stalks, and 2 cups of salad greens are all around 1 cup of vegetables. And don’t forget beans and peas can count as veggies too!
It may take some flexibility and effort on your part to try these new tips, but in the end, isn’t it worth having your family munching more on fruits and veggies?
Level up your health!