Ok, let’s confess. Hands up if you’ve ever smuggled veg into their food 🙋? As a mum to two, who's been through the fruit and veg dodging stage TWICE, my hand is firmly up there. Here are some tips on how to conquer carrot-phobia, whether they start out hating the taste and texture, or get fussy later on.
1. Get them involved
My now six-year-old never liked the look of veg - even the colours were enough to turn him off. When he hit three and I’d exhausted the smuggling option, I decided to get tactical and make the veg seem less, well, scary. Using a toddler safe knife, he was put to work chopping all of the softer veg (can’t get through carrots with those blunt knives 😉) ready for the weekly spag bol. The excitement of the prep and seeing how veg could be cut into cool shapes, was enough to get him to try it and guess what? He loved it.
2. Pick your own
Kids are more likely to try new stuff if they think they’ve chosen it themselves, so take them on a trip to the supermarket and let them pick their own fruit and veg. Or, take it one step further and go to a market or, in warmer weather visit a pick your own farm. Still not convinced? Why not get them fully immersed? Get them a veg patch or pot in the garden and make it their project.
3. Play with your food
Normalise those ‘nasty’ greens and make it feel like a normal part of their everyday. Baby? Hand them a teether that’s realistically shaped and textured like a vegetable, so they get used to the idea, like these Oli and Carol vegetable teethers. Older kid? Let them pretend play. We love this Bigjigs Wooden Fruit and Veg Basket, which features cool wooden veg they can feed to their teddies, dolls and you. Chances are, the more ‘yum’ noises you make, the more appealing the real ones will seem.
4. Ice, ice baby
This is a good tip if your kid hates fruit… be sneaky and add it to stuff they like. I mean, who doesn’t love an ice lolly, especially if it’s warm out, or babe’s teething. Grab some fruit and whizz it around into a puree and stick them in the freezer. They’ll never know that ‘treat’ is actually full of goodness. #sneaky
5. Story time
Every kid loves a good bedtime story so get imaginative for a good cause. We love Willsow's wonderful plantable books. The Lettuce Who Wanted A New Look and The Carrot Who Was Too Big For His Bed tell amazing tales of characterful veg and can be planted afterward, because the pages are filled with seeds. Genius!
6. Drink it
Put fruit in the bottom of their water bottles. It’s great for adding flavour and vitamins in a unique way. Simply fill them with water, pop in a fruit of their choice (we like lemon or strawberries) and they’ll be gulping down those nutrients. And when the water’s gone, they may (MAY) just decide to try that fruit that looks a bit different thanks to taking in the water too.
These tips may take time, but I promise they work. As always, below is some of the stuff that may just make their veggie and fruit journey easier.