Kids Can Eat Rainbows
Kids love rainbows! What's not to like, they're so bright and colourful! Did you know that you can take that love of rainbows and put it on a plate filled with fruits and vegetables?! Using a rainbow as a guide, you can ensure that your children benefit from a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients in their diet.
Phytonutrients are natural chemical compounds found in all plants; they protect against disease and promote health in plants and humans. Many phytonutrients also give fruit and vegetables their bright colour. By breaking produce down into colour groups of fire-engine red, bright orange, sunshine yellow, emerald green, and rich purples, you can make eating fruits and vegetables fun for your kids! Even at a very young age, kids can easily grasp the concept of eating a rainbow.
As parents we "know" that our children should be eating a minimum of 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables however getting them to actually eat their fruits and veggies is a different story!
Here are some suggestions on how to get them to eat their fruits and veggies:
1. Keep Fruits and Vegetables in Sight: Stock your fridge full of washed and ready to eat fruits and veggies. Having them cut up in slices makes it even easier for your kids to reach in and grab a quick healthy snack.
2. Remove the Competition: If you provide only healthy options they will get eaten! Leave the junk food for an occasional treat.
3. Prepare Meals Together: Bring kids into the kitchen starting at a young age. Toddlers can wash and rip lettuce, preschoolers can measure and stir, and older kids can find recipes and help create meals. Children are far more likely to dig into a new dish if they helped prepare it.
4. Take them Grocery Shopping: When you have the time, take your children grocery shopping with you and let them pick out a fruit or vegetable. Challenge them put a rainbow in the shopping cart.
5. Serve a Fruit or Vegetable with Every Meal: Every day and every meal, fruits and veggies should be on the menu. Eating this way makes it easy to get the minimum 5 servings of produce a day.
6. Keep it Simple: Veggies taste best when you don’t do too much to them. Eating them raw seems to be a favourite with kids. Add some yummy dip and your done!
7. Be a good Role Model: If you expect your child to eat vegetables, you need to be eating them, too.
8. Eat the Same Meals: Make one meal for the family. Don’t start the habit of serving different menus for everyone as you’ll end up with a house full of picky eaters and a lot of extra work in the kitchen.
9. Keep Trying: Kids need to be exposed to, and ideally taste, a new food as many as 10 to 15 times before they’ll accept it. Just getting them to take one bite is a victory!
10. Make it Fun: Kids are fun people and they love playing games. Keep that in mind and make healthy eating a fun challenge rather than a battle.
About the Author: Kia Robertson is a mom and the creator of the Today I Ate A Rainbow kit; a tool that helps parents establish healthy eating habits by setting the goal of eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day. For more info, visit www.todayiatearainbow.com.