If you were like most kids, you probably dreaded eating fruits and vegetables during your childhood. But now that you’re a parent who understands the importance of healthy food for a child’s well-being, you might find yourself struggling to talk your young kids into doing exactly what you once refused to do.
Pretty ironic, right?
To help you overcome this common challenge, ChooseMyPlate.gov suggests encouraging your children to eat fruits and veggies by trying to make it fun. Depending on their age and abilities, your kids may even be able to prepare their own healthy creations, making it all the more enjoyable for them.
ChooseMyPlate.gov offers these 10 kid-friendly ideas for fruits and vegetables:
Delicious Dippers. Kids love to dip their foods. Whip up a quick dip for veggies with yogurt and seasonings such as herbs or garlic. Serve with raw vegetables like broccoli, carrots or cauliflower. Fruit chunks go great with a yogurt and cinnamon or vanilla dip.
Smoothie Creations. Blend fat-free or low-fat yogurt or milk with fruit pieces and crushed ice. Use fresh, frozen, canned and even overripe fruits. Try bananas, berries, peaches and/or pineapple. If you freeze the fruit first, you can even skip the ice!
Caterpillar Kabobs. Assemble chunks of melon, apple, orange and pear on skewers for a fruity kabob. For a raw veggie version, use vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, squash, sweet peppers or tomatoes.
Personalized Pizzas. Set up a pizza-making station in the kitchen. Use whole-wheat English muffins, bagels or pita bread as the crust. Get tomato sauce and low-fat cheese, and cut up vegetables or fruits for toppings. Let kids choose their own favorites. Then pop the pizzas into the oven to warm.
Fruity Peanut Butterfly. Start with carrot sticks or celery for the body. Attach wings made of thinly sliced apples with peanut butter, and decorate with halved grapes or dried fruit.
Frosty Fruits. Frozen treats are bound to be popular in the warm months. Just put fresh fruits such as melon chunks in the freezer (rinse first). Make “popsicles” by inserting sticks into peeled bananas and freezing.
Bugs on a Log. Use celery, cucumber or carrot sticks as the log, and add peanut butter. Top with dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries or cherries, depending on which type of “bugs” your children want.
Homemade Trail Mix. Skip the pre-made trail mix and make your own. Use your favorite nuts and dried fruits, such as unsalted peanuts, cashews, walnuts or sunflower seeds mixed with dried apples, pineapple, cherries, apricots or raisins. Add whole-grain cereals to the mix, too.
Potato Person. Decorate half a baked potato. Use sliced cherry tomatoes, peas and low-fat cheese on the potato to make a funny face.
Put Kids in Charge. Ask your children to name new veggie or fruit creations. Let them arrange raw veggies or fruits into a fun shape or design.