For the nutrition they need to grow strong, children should fill at least half of their plates with colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal, says the US Department of Agriculture. But sometimes, those vibrant colors aren’t enticing enough on their own.
There’s good news, though. Simply changing how food appears can give children a new perspective on things they have been unwilling to eat. Try these ideas to encourage them to branch out in healthy ways:
- Cool cut-outs: Slice open a bell pepper (green, red, yellow or orange), flatten it, then use cookie cutters to transform it into vivid stars, hand shapes, cars — you name it.
- Flower power: Fill a silicon baking cup with fresh fruit or vegetable slices. Overlap a circle of the pieces on top so it looks like a bloom. Try clementine wedges or carrot, zucchini or radish “coins.”
- Scrumptious skewers: Give kids a pile of fruit pieces, sliced carrots and cucumbers, and a few kabob sticks so they can create their own designs.
- Roll-ups: Create wraps with fresh fruit and/or veggies and spread with guacamole, Greek yogurt or cream cheese.
Keep it up
Studies show that most children need multiple exposures (between 5 and 10) to try new foods. Create a weekly schedule with a different food to try every night. Don’t give up the first time your child turns something down.
Perhaps most important to encouraging good nutrition for life: Model healthy eating habits yourself.