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6 Tips to Encourage Children to Eat Fruit and Vegetables

October 2, 2018
encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables

Is your child a fussy eater when it comes to eating fruit and vegetables?   Here are some tips to encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables, from the chef’s at Hearty Health:

​1. Try and try again

Children can be fussy with food, which can change from day to day. It is important to be patient and continue to offer a variety of fruit and vegetables every day, not just the type they like.

If you don’t succeed at first, try again. Some children need to be presented with a new food several times – even up to ten times or more – before they will try it. The goal is to make mealtime a positive experience and any new food consumed is a step forward.

2. Eating together

Parents and Early Childhood Educators have an important role to play in establishing a positive mealtime experience for children. Having meals together means that children are provided with an opportunity to learn.  Watching parents and role models enjoy a variety of nutritious foods, means children are more likely to join in.

3. Encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables

Encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables by providing non-food or social rewards, such as a star chart or reward scheme in your child care centre room.   Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables together with a child’s peers, creates positive eating habits for life.

4. Serving size matters

A child’s portion size may be small and varies with age, appetite and activity levels. Start by serving food in more manageable portions and gradually build from there.

5. Get children involved

Increase your child’s exposure and interest in fresh produce by going grocery shopping together and getting them involved in choosing which fruits and vegetables they would like to have. Many green grocers and supermarkets are now offering tours of their fresh produce departments.  This is a great excursion idea that many Child Care Centres are taking advantage of to encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables.

6. Make it fun and tasty

Children can have particular preferences for the taste, texture and presentation of their meals. Those who prefer crunchier textures may do better with raw rather than cooked vegetables.

To encourage children to eat fruit and vegetables, it may also be more appealing if different coloured fruits and vegetables are served together.

If your child is picky with vegetables, try starting with sweeter and more colourful vegetables like pumpkin, corn, cauliflower or carrots. Incorporate other types of vegetables when your child gets used to eating them.

New types of fruits and vegetables can also be served along with a food that you know they enjoy such as homemade sauces and dips to make them more palatable.

For more hints and tips from the chef’s in the Hearty Health kitchen, follow our Facebook page and check in to our Hearty Health Blog.

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