4 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Eat Their Fruits This Summer
One of my favorite things about summer is the availability of delicious fruits. Berries, watermelon, grapes, cherries . . . you name the summer fruit, I love it!
I always include fruit in our meals. I cut up a bowl of fruit or wash off a bunch of grapes or cherries or berries every morning and place them in a bowl; that bowl goes on the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner, until the fruit is gone. For nighttime snack if the girls are hungry I make them apples cut up with peanut butter.
I know some parents struggle with getting enough fresh fruits into their children’s diets. If this is you, summertime is the best time of the year to start!
Here are four tips to get your children to eat fruits over the summer months.
Pick it if you can. There is nothing like going out and getting – picking – your food! Our kids love to eat tomatoes in the summer, not because they are crazy about tomatoes but because we plant them in our garden and they watch them grow. This cuts back on cost, makes it fun, and gets the kids involved in what we are eating. We also grow strawberries. Last year our friends planted blueberry bushes and invited us over to pick blueberries, which my girls loved. We have wild blackberries that grow in our area, too, and we pick those when they are ripe (free!). You might also find a U-pick farm in your area and gather the kids up for a fun day of picking strawberries; eat what you can and freeze the rest for smoothies and popsicles. If you can get the kids involved you are much more likely to get them to try new foods. If you don't, buy locally from farmer's markets. Buying in season keeps your costs down, too.
Be creative. If you want your kids to try new foods, be creative in the kitchen. For example, make a smiley face using blackberries for eyes, a strawberry for a nose and a mango for the smiling mouth and create a side of dip using yogurt and honey. Have little kids? What about a fruit platter that looks like Elmo, like this one on Pinterest (how cute!). I find a lot of creative food ideas on Pinterest; just do a search for ‘fruits'. Creativity in the kitchen doesn't have to be expensive, and it is always fun for the little ones.
Get your kids involved in the kitchen. Yesterday the girls wanted to have a tea party. I let them choose what to make food-wise as long as it included a fruit and they made banana and honey on bread finger sandwiches shaped like triangles. They were cheap and easy to make for the kids, and we gobbled them up as we sipped our tea. We love homemade popsicles and smoothies, which can be cheaper than what you buy in the store and way healthier. (Mix plain yogurt, ice, fresh berries and honey, then drink or freeze!) I have the kids get most of the food ready to put into the blender, put it in the blender, and then blend. Small kids can put food in the blender and press the ‘on’ button. Have your kids create fruit bowls for dinner in the evening by washing the fruit and placing them in small dishes, then setting them on the table. Another favorite of ours: fruit parfaits. The girls use tall clear glasses (dollar store, $1 each!), and then layer plain yogurt, honey, granola, and a variety of fruits. (You can even make your own granola!)
Don’t be too discouraged if at first you don’t succeed. I’ve found it can take a while at times to get my kids to try certain things. I don’t make them eat it, but we do have a rule that you have to at least try everything that is served. If they don’t like it, I don’t force them to eat it; I’ll put it back on the table in a few days or weeks and ask them to try it again.
Are your kids good about eating fresh fruits? What fruits do they like, and which ones do they avoid?
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