- Involve kids in food shopping. At the store, let them pick their favorite fruits and new ones to try.
- Hit the farmers market or orchard. If you make picking out fruit an event, children may come to see fruit as a special treat.
- Serve new fruits with old favorites. Kids are more likely to try a new food when it’s accompanied by something they’re familiar with. Slice apples with pears, or mix bananas with berries.
- Make fruits appealing. Place them in attractive bowls or on pretty plates on the kitchen table. Slice a few different fruits and serve them on skewers for fruit kabobs. Cut the fruit rather than serve it whole, and add a low-fat dip or yogurt to switch it up.
- Blend them into smoothies. Combine the fruit with low-fat or fat-free milk or plain yogurt. Unlike juice smoothies, when you blend the whole fruit, you are still getting the fiber.
- Use them to top cereal or yogurt. Try bananas, peaches, strawberries, or blueberries, or add a variety to make it interesting. Add blueberries or bananas to pancakes instead of chocolate chips.
- Pack fruit in their lunch. Always add a piece of fruit or individual containers of fruit (without added sugar) to your child’s lunch and offer them as an after-school snack.
- Try it frozen. Grapes, bananas, berries freeze well, but you can also buy bags of frozen fruit. Frozen is just as nutritious as fresh. (Whole grapes and chunks of fruit can be a choking hazard for young children, so be sure to cut them into piece no larger than ½-inch.)
- Establish a fruit first rule. Before allowing kids to have candy, chips, or other less-than-healthy food for a snack, tell them they have to have some fruit first. Then if they still want the treat, serve them a small portion.
- Make fruit the main dessert. You can serve sliced fruit or a fruit salad, but you aren’t limited to that. Apples, pears, and peaches are delicious baked. Try topping a bowl of berries or slice bananas with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or drizzle with a little chocolate sauce.
Encouraging kids to eat a variety of whole fruits means they get a healthy mix of key nutrients.
Can you think of any more?