Fresh Fruit Beckons Everyone, Even Children

I wish I had a photo to share of the gorgeous strawberries I put out this morning. They were very photo worthy…so tantalizing in fact that they didn’t last long enough for me to snap a shot before my daughter got to them.

We only had about 5 strawberries left, and I tend to prefer room temperature fruit so I decided to wash them and leave them on the counter. I knew they’d be eaten by someone here before the day was done. After washing them, I let them dry for a bit on a clean kitchen towel and then placed them on our kitchen island in a small glass bowl. But, as I expected it didn’t take long before Sofie (home from school today) noticed the bowl. She immediately exclaimed, “Are those strawberries?!”, as if she hadn’t had them in month, when in fact, she already had some earlier this morning with breakfast! One she got the go ahead from me to eat them, she climbed onto her step stool, pulled the entire bowl over and grabbed the biggest strawberry first. She proceeded to eat the entire bowl…leaving me with no photo op but still a happy mom knowing that she enjoyed something so fresh, natural and good for her…and more importantly, she made the decision to eat them all on her own.

Trying to instill the foundation for your child to make healthy decisions about what they choose to eat, and to enjoy good food is a goal of every parent. An important tactic is to make good choices easy and attractive for them. So leave fresh fruit out on your counter and watch your kids ask to eat it! A better choice than cookies when they come home from school. Even at parties, we always have fresh fruit out and kids (not only our own), especially, seem to really enjoy it. I have found that kids tend to pick healthy food if it is available for them and there is no pressure. At this stage, Sofie doesn’t really know what is healthy or not healthy, she just knows what she likes to eat. With pressure, she will turn down everything, even the most sugary, fatty treat. So we’re trying the “no pressure but make lots of good choices readily available” path. We do however, encourage her to try at least one bite of new things.

If your kid isn’t that into fruit, perhaps you can take them to a farmer’s market and let them pick out some fruit to eat… and then enjoy it right there! There is something so alluring about that instant gratification of picking something out and then eating it right away! Along those lines, I have found kids will eat anything right off a plant, you could try to grow something easy. Strawberries are particularly easy and grow in almost every climate here in the States…and I have yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love a strawberry…an in season ripe strawberry. It could be your gateway fruit. Be sure to try to get fruit that is in season, ideally, local and organic. In season fruit will taste better and should be cheaper too. Otherwise, you could try to make a yummy topping to begin their love of fruit. Ina Garten has an amazing recipe for a mascarpone sauce for fruit. I’ll try to post it soon, along with our slight modifications.

While not quite as reliable, this works with vegetables too. I have to be better at making them readily available for snacks as well. Sofie will gobble up raw cauliflower if she is on her step stool by my side in the kitchen as I prep it for dinner, yet she will not eat it cooked and on her dinner plate.  She will even eat mouthfuls of sprouts if it is while we are feeding them to our chickens! So it is all how it is presented.

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Here she is with strawberry evidence still all over her face. She’s home today resting up as it seems she is coming down with the cold I have.

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