and Vegetable Fun !
It is really important to introduce children
to fruit and vegetables early on in their diet. As a society we are becoming
increasing aware of the importance of having 5 different portions of fruit
and vegetables each day, and for some this is really difficult.
Count up how many portions you had in the
last week - was it 35?
It is much easier to open a packet of biscuits
then to offer children a healthy snack that takes time to prepare, but
by making that time, you are helping the children to develop a healthier
lifestyle and enabling them to make healthier choices as they get older.
By providing a fruit or vegetable snack, you are introducing children to
a wider variety of food, sneaking in 1 of the 5 recommend daily portions
and giving your child an energy boost full of natural sugars and vitamins.
Not everyone is willing to try, so it is
up to you to make fruit and vegetables fun and to think about why you child
is refusing to eat, possible ideas are:
Top tips for successful
You don't eat it .
They are not hungry.
If they wait long enough, moan loud enough
they will get an alternative - honestly if you had a choice between a fresh
baked doughnut and a carrot stick with your morning coffee - what would
They are not sure what it is or what to do
They don't like trying new things.
Be a great model - eat some yourself and enjoy
Provide the opportunity for children to eat
fruit and vegetables with other children, perhaps take some grapes along
to toddler group or into preschool to share instead of a packet of biscuits
- I am certain no one will object, and your child may well copy what the
others are doing. It may take more than one week though !
Involve your child in the preparation - you
could make some of the simple recipes below, let your child choose or even
pick their own - now that really is exciting!
Have a go at growing your own to eat - if
you want instant results try mung beans or cress, or perhaps have a competition
to grow the biggest cucumber or a magic marrow. (If you carefully cut the
skin of a young marrow, then the design will grow with it - we have had
ones that have grown with the childrens' name on - and then they have to
eat it, as it was grown just for them).
If they don't want it, don't worry about it
- be persistent and try again another day, but don't offer an alternative.
If they do eat it, even just a tiny bit, comment on how well you think
they are doing, and how clever they are and how pleased you are with their
Make it fun... raisins in boxes make a great
portable snack, perhaps you could hide them as treasure and hunt them out,
or even great prizes for good behaviour.
Eat in different locations - a banana on the
bus may taste much more exciting than one indoors.
Offer variety - try different versions of
the same fruit, prepare it differently, and serve it in different containers
- don't forget to experiment with fresh, frozen, dried and tined fruit
Play with fruit and vegetables - get children
to use to handling them - provide realistic fruit and vegetables for them
to play with in the home corner, with pots, pans and plates so they can
create their own meals - or chop up the real things, dip it in paint and
experiment with design.
Have a competition - who can eat the most
portions of fruit and vegetables in a week, and make a certificate for
the winner! You can download
A Selection of fresh fruit - apple,
pears, melon, grapes, strawberries, satsumas, kiwi, mango all washed and
cut into chunks and a wooden skewer per portion.
Present the fruit in different bowls. Encourage
the children to name the fruit and carefully push it onto the skewers -
this activity at all times. Encourage the children to make a fruit
pattern, to put 10 pieces of fruit on, or one of each kind.
Try sorting them into groups or designing
an edible picture, comparing them to the undried version - do they taste
Experiment with dried fruit -
raisins (come in all different shapes and sizes), apricots, banana chips,
dried strawberries, apple rings etc.
Encourage the children
to choose different vegetables to dip into the sauce. Compare sizes - which
is longest, a stick or carrot or a piece of cucumber - how can you make
of vegetable slices - carrot, celery, coloured pepper, cucmber. Homemade
Dip - use natural yogurt and add some fresh herbs, some fruit sauce, a
spash of ketchup, some chillie powder - the choice is yours!
Pick a shape
and plan the snack to take on that shape
You could introduce
everthing that is circle shaped - round slices of carrot, slices of cucumber
apple rings, melon balls, cherries and then on a different occasion you
could cube everything and challenge the children to try squares of fruit
and vegetables - do they taste the same?
Choose some soft fruits, and buy
or make some natural yoghurt and have a go at making your own flavoured
Encourage the children to think about what
colour it will be, what it might taste like, and what the lumps are in
the yogurt... add fresh or defrosted fruit, mix it up and talk about how
it changes in colour and taste.