Cooking School

Proven ways to get kids eating fruits and veggies

By: Adell Shneer, Canadian Living Food Specialist

Author: Canadian Living

Cooking School

Proven ways to get kids eating fruits and veggies

By: Adell Shneer, Canadian Living Food Specialist
As parents, we strive to keep our kids healthy and to help them make good choices for the best nutrition and health. But it is often a challenge to get our kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. If you are struggling to up the fruit and veggie content in your child's diet, try some of these suggestions.

1. Make fruit and veggies accessible
Small shapes for small hands: Cut carrots and celery into sticks and cucumbers into rounds; buy cherry tomatoes. Keep them in the fridge for easy snacks at any time. Keep fruit washed and ready for little hands to grab-and-go. Keep homemade dip at the ready.

Grapes are great: Wash red, green and purple grapes and skewer on toothpicks.

Easy melon shapes: Use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of melon, pineapple and cucumber to appeal to young children.

2. Enhance the great taste of fruits and veggies
Tasty flavours: Try sprinkling fruit with a little lemon juice mixed with honey, or with cinnamon and sugar. For veggies, try sprinkling with a pinch of sea salt, seasoning salt or dried herbs to punch up the flavour.

Quick dip: For a quick, tasty fruit dip, mix 1/4 cup (50 mL) of plain yogurt with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of honey and pinch of cinnamon.

Go for garlic: Surprisingly, many kids love the pungent flavour of garlic. Try this savoury dip with fresh veggies:

Combine 1 clove minced fresh garlic (or 1 head roasted garlic, squeezed from bulb) with 1/2 cup (125 mL) each plain yogurt or sour cream and light mayonnaise. Add 2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh chives or green onion and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper. Stir to mix well.

Love leftovers: Toss cold leftover cooked veggies with salad dressing or serve with dip.

Smoothies: Make a smoothie with a variety of fruits, such as kiwi, banana and strawberries, or orange juice with chunks of mango and papaya.

Bake it: Sprinkle veggie slices with cheese and bake until golden and crispy.

Page 1 of 2 - See page 2 for tips on buying the tastiest fruits & veggies PLUS recipes kids love
3. Go to the source for best-tasting produce your kids will enjoy
• Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Choosing local, in-season produce not only help reduce our carbon footprint, but it also means food tastes better.

• Find pick-your-own farms. Look for seasonal items and kid-friendly produce such as sugar snap peas, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries; and tree fruits such as plums, peaches, apples and pears.

• Farmer's markets are usually open in the summer months. Find one near you, and take your child to meet the farmers who grow the food.

• Ethnic markets or neighbourhoods like Chinatown are great places to find a wide variety of exotic fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. Ask questions about what people are buying and how they are going to prepare it.

Above all, don't give up. Often it takes several times for a child to be exposed to a new flavour before they will try it or like it. Don't be afraid to offer lots of different fruits and vegetables and remember, just because you don't like it, doesn't mean they won't. Keep trying to help your kids to enjoy the goodness of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Canadian Living recipes your kids will love:
Veggies and Dip
Three Cheese Dip
Fresh Fruit Platter
White Chocolate Cheesecake Dip
Name the Tropical Fruit Quiz

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Cooking School

Proven ways to get kids eating fruits and veggies