How can you get your kids to fruits and vegetables
Robin Harrison is a speech pathologist at Cardon Children's Medical Center in Mesa.
Question: Is there anyway to get my kids to eat their fruits and vegetables? They aren't big fans of nutritious eating.
Answer: Some children are averse to the taste, texture or color of vegetables. Some just prefer cookies to carrots. Luckily, there are some tricks parents can use to introduce fruits and vegetables into everyday meals:
- Puree, puree, puree. Whipping up fruits or veggies in a blender is a great way to add fiber and nutrients to any dish. The whipped fruits can be added to a smoothie; the pureed vegetables can be added to soups and sauces like a marinara pasta sauce.
- Mix it! Chop up fruit and add to yogurt or ice cream to make sure your little one gets the recommended 5 servings a day.
- Have a Pumpkin Party. Pumpkin has a ton of fiber and vitamins and can be added to almost anything to create texture or thickness. Mix into soup or pasta sauce for a creamier texture. Add to pancakes or oatmeal for an autumn flavor. Use as a substitute for eggs and oil in a cake mix. (Just mix the cake mix with a can of pumpkin and add a little water – up to 2/3 cup). Just remember to use canned pumpkin – NOT pumpkin pie filling, which is chock full of sugar and other items.
- Sneaky Snack Time: Studies show that children coming home from school will generally snack on whatever is around. Be strategic and set out some cut up veggies and fruit for your children to eat as a snack. Don’t worry if they ruin their dinner – they’re filling up with the good stuff!
If this is a big step for you or you’re not sure where to start, just think small. You can begin with a chopped red pepper in your next spaghetti dish, or maybe just a spoonful of pumpkin in your child’s birthday cake. If your child hates the taste of fruit, dab a little of the juice into an ice cube and serve it with water – it’s a good way to start introducing the flavor.
If you need more ideas, there are plenty of great resources out there on the Web or in cook books.
If your child has a serious eating aversion or other feeding problem, don’t hesitate to call us at 480-412-KIDZ (5439) to get a consultation or find us at www.bannerhealth.com/cardonchildrens.