4 Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat More Fruits And Veggies January 21, 2020
Do you have picky eaters at home? Or are you keen to introduce fruits and veggies to your children? Well, good thing we’ve got four easy ways to get them to not only eat their fruits and veggies, but LOVE them!
We connected with our very own HelloFresh food stylist and mother herself, Olivia Sauerwein, about how to plate food in an appealing way for kids. She says that an easy way to get your kids to eat their fruits and veggies is by taking a look at how they are presented on their plate and bringing in playful elements. Eating with your eyes first is most true when it comes to children!
1. Play with color contrast
Children see and taste differently than adult do. They also react very sensitively to the look and color of their food, so it’s good to use colorful foods that bring a dish to life. …Or if your meal is monochrome (for example, plain pasta and a carbonara sauce) try adding in some contrast using greens (for example, herbs or green beans) or display it on a colored plate that will contrast the food. “If you can, change the colors of the plates regularly so that it is playful for your child”, says food stylist Olivia Sauerwein.
You can play with ingredients that have vivid colors, such as yellow (pineapple, bell peppers, yellow courgettes), red or orange (strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, red bell pepper, pumpkin) and green (kiwi, cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli). These colors can also often be found in toys!
2. Try out new color combinations
You can try to play with contrast, or you could opt for color combinations! Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t give up if on the first time you introduce a new vegetable to your child, he or she refuses it. It takes time for a child to get familiar with a new ingredient! If your child doesn’t enjoy eating adult dishes, then try simplifying the same dish for them so you don’t have to cook two different meals. Sauerwein says, “Combine fruits, vegetables, and proteins with colorful spices, sauces, and herbs such as: curry, turmeric, cumin, basil, parsley, or soy sauce to introduce them to new taste associations. Start to acquaint them with new ingredients by putting the ingredients on the plate in front of your child, so he or she can learn about different tastes and textures and experiment with different flavors every other day.”
Fresh Tip: A good start is to follow the 80/20 rule by introducing 20% of newness (peas, spinach leaves, and herbs) to a meal which contains 80% of familiar ingredients to the child (rice, pasta, starch, and meat.)
3. Be mindful of textures
If your child categorically refused to eat broccoli once, do not make the assumption that broccoli is automatically off the list! It might be simply because your child did not like the way it was cooked. Often, it is the way an ingredient is prepared that influences its final texture and therefore taste and looks, to which children react to so sensibly. “If your child does not enjoy boiled broccoli, it might be because he or she did not enjoy the gooey texture or flavor of the boiled vegetable. Next time, try to roast it in the oven. Its crunchiness might be more appealing to the young palate of your child. Simply observe how your child reacts to the textures of ingredients and try adapting the next dishes accordingly,” says Sauerwein.
4. Deconstruct the food
Kids are very sensitive to plating and the way the food is prepared. Often, they want to see the full overview of all the food in front of them. If your child struggles with eating a dish that has mixed ingredients, try presenting them on the plate separately. Separate the vegetables from the starch and the protein source, and let your child discover the ingredients one by one. If you want to get creative, try making shapes out of the ingredients, such as a tree or a smiley face. “Basically, trying to find out what textures, flavors, and colors your child likes would be key to know how to present food to him or her, so you can have fun making meals. …And he or she can have fun enjoying them!” concludes Sauerwein.
We hope this article was helpful in getting your kids to eat more fruits and veggies! Check out 4 Easy and Wholesome Snacks Kids Can Make Themselves for more kid-friendly snack recipes.