My kiddos are crazy about any and all manner of fruit. Veggies, on the other hand, are largely “no bueno.” So I was pretty jazzed when one of D Magazine’s (rather genius) summer interns, Tegan Burkhard, sent the following post my way. Tegan, I have a bunch of beets in my fridge just begging to be the focus of a spousal “duke it out.” I’ll let you know how it goes.
By Tegan Burkhard
It’s summer, and that means more time with the kiddos, trips to the Farmer’s Market, and ample fresh fruits and veggies. Now for the million dollar question: How do you convince your kids gobble up these nutrition-packed seasonal treats instead of sneaking them under the table for your pet to enjoy?
Never fear, we’re here to help. Herewith five ways to get your little ones as jazzed about sweet tomatoes (and ripe berries and juicy ears of corn) as you are:
- Dress them up. Your kids can’t resist chowing down on these natural nutrients if they actually look fun to eat. Let your kids channel their creative side and play with their food. Create silly faces out of various fruit and vegetables or piece together full-meal portraits. Break out the toothpicks and attach blueberries to melons for eyes, blackberries for a nose, and apple slices as a mouth.
- Spice it up. Nominate a fruit and veggie of the month. Then, spend time as a family concocting different ways to prepare them. Throw veggies in a crockpot, season, stew, chop, bake, fry, roast, or sauté. Add fruits to a dessert, dash with cinnamon, or whip up a yogurt fruit salad. You can also freeze softer fruits like grapes and cherries for a healthy alternative to popsicles. Your kids will have fun in the kitchen while learning that perhaps some veggies aren’t bad after all if prepared a new way. And you can never go wrong with a freshly baked fruit pie.
- Play games. Duke it out in the kitchen with your spouse. Compete to see who can prepare the chosen fruit or veggie best. After scouring Pinterest boards for inspiration and hitting the Farmers Market to stock up on the goods, set the timer and get to work preparing your delicious dish. Have the kids cheer you on while you cook. Once the timer rings and the dishes have cooled, let the kids vote on which parent prepared the fruit or veggie better. Make it interesting and help the kids make the winner breakfast in bed the next morning.
- Kids’ choice. Kids love nothing more than making their own contributions to your grocery list. Let your kids be in charge of the produce section of your list. Set some ground rules first, like deciding on the minimum (and maximum) amount of fruits and veggies they should select. Maybe you’ll have to spend more time on prep work when the kids chose eggplant or pomegranates. But, if they’re willing to give the unfamiliar produce a chance, isn’t it worth it?
- Berry picking. Pack up the car and hit the road for a day of fruit and berry picking. Decide how far you’re willing to travel before searching the web for farms across Texas. Then narrow it down by the type of fruit your kids are most interested in picking and snacking on at home. Be sure to remind your kids only to pick as much as they are likely to eat. And don’t forget to grab your own basket or two. Turn the second basket into a home-baked pie to trick your kids into eating an additional portion of fruit.