Looking for how to encourage your toddler to eat fruits? You aren’t alone. Many people refer to fruit as “nature’s candy”: it’s sweet, it’s satisfying and it’s delicious! Regardless of how delicious it is though, a staggering amount of kids don’t eat enough of it. It is estimated that a whopping 60% of children eat less fruit than the recommended daily amount.
Fruit is a nutritional superstar; it’s low in calories, high in fiber, and often times packs the most bang for your buck in terms of getting in vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals are crucial to kids for healthy growth and development, and can also help prevent constipation.
My Child Hates Fruit! Learn How to Encourage Your Toddler to Eat Fruits
So, how do you get your kids to eat more fruit? Chances are, if you tell your toddler it will help her constipation or inform your child of how healthy it is, they will likely run the other way. To get your kiddos to chow down, read on for a few tactics that might help as you learn how to encourage your toddler to eat fruits.
1. Buy a Variety of Fruit:
Luckily, in this day and age, there are so many options available at the supermarket! Purchase fruits in all different forms, textures and shapes. Fresh is a great option, but also experiment with frozen and freeze-dried fruit, as well as canned and dried.
2. Let Them Decide:
If you’re a parent, chances are things go much easier for you when you let your child make a decision, as opposed to you making a decision for them! Take your child to the grocery store or farmers market with you and tell him/her she gets to choose one or two kids of fruit to have or try this week. Also, when serving a meal, instead of saying “would you like an apple?” or “do you want some fruit?” ask your child “would you like grapes or cantaloupe with your meal?” This puts the control in your child’s hands all while you experience a parenting win of watching your kid eat their fruit.
3. Use Fun Stickers:
Does your child have a favorite cartoon character, or is there a theme that they’re really in to? If the answer is “yes,” purchase some stickers that will make your child smile, stick it on an apple and watch them chow down. A study done at Cornell University showed that children were nearly twice as likely to eat their apple at lunch when it had an Elmo sticker on it!
4. Dress It Up:
Fruit in its whole, pure form is delicious, but sometimes it’s fun to doctor it up a bit, too. Slice up a banana and spread a little peanut butter between two slices to create a delicious sandwich bite, or dip some pineapple in melted chocolate and refrigerate or freeze until it sets. This is a great way to get your kids to eat fruit for dessert!
5. Try, Try Again:
Just because your child rejects a piece of fruit once or twice does not mean they will never like it! Research shows some kids need to be introduced to a new food as many as ten times before they like it!
It’s important that you don’t stress about your child hating fruit: Keep trying, and make it as fun as possible. If you’re concerned about your child’s eating habits, and believe they might need feeding therapy, contact us. Our feeding, PT, and OT therapists are very knowledgeable and helpful!