Tricks to Get Your Child to Eat fruit & Vegetables
There’s huge range of delicious in-season fruit and vegetables available at the moment just waiting to be eaten. You can dine like a king on fresh apples, pears, berries, plums, damsons and gooseberries.
Or feast on tasty veg such as asparagus, cucumbers, mushrooms, courgette, spinach, tomatoes and radishes. They’re all fantastic, healthy choices which are perfect for creating yummy meals that should appeal to the whole family.
But if – like many parents out there – you’ve got a pint-sized picky eater on your hands, it isn’t always that easy to persuade them to tuck in at mealtimes.
So an article in the UK Daily Mirror recently pulled together five great hacks which should help to get your little ones eating fruits and vegetables in no time. This is government advice for England only.
>>> Add this one thing – a bit of butter:
Almost everything tastes better with butter, right? But there’s actually some science behind this trick. Lots of vegetables are bitter and young palettes are actually extra sensitive to this kind of flavour.
A small knob of butter can take this away and turn your veg into a triumph. And believe it or not, butter is actually a good source of vitamins A, E, and D3, which are important for growing kids.
>>> Serve things which are in-season – they taste so much better:
Marion Regan is managing director of Hugh Lowe Farms, a family run soft fruit farm established more than 125 years ago in Mereworth, Kent. She says: “Eating seasonally makes sense from a sustainability and environmental point of view.
“Really seasonal food is about quality food. When something is ‘in season’, it is at its absolute best, from the point of view of flavour, texture, sweetness and usually price too. Freshness is key to flavour – seasonal fruit is fresher and less travelled.”
Knowing where to start with seasonal fruit and veg can be daunting if you’re not used to it so it’s worth looking around for easy recipes to start with.
Look for a list of seasonal veg at www.vegpower.org.uk/seasonalveg and get creative.
>>> Turn vegetables into a starter:
We’re never hungrier than when we’ve just sat down at the table and are waiting for our food to arrive – and the same goes for kids. Take advantage of that famished frenzy by serving a first course of vegetables.
Serve raw or roast to bring out their natural sweetness, and consider serving with a dip to spice things up.
>>> Tell them where their fruit and veg comes from:
Knowing where your food comes from and supporting those who provide it is important – for both parents and kids alike. Make meals times interesting by showing your children where the items on their plate come from on a map – such as the one above.
There are so many reasons why supporting local producers is important, from the way the landscape works, to the need to reduce food miles and the importance of keeping the local economy strong.
>>> Try blending fruit and veg into smoothies:
A recent US study found children aged three to five can almost DOUBLE their daily veg consumption if served them pureed rather than whole.
You can either serve these in a glass – or blitz them and add to recipes. Some parents have had joy blending carrots to put in spaghetti sauce or popping sweet potatoes into pancake mix.