By Kia Robertson - Today I Ate a Rainbow
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 color. Each color group provides a unique set of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. That is why kids thrive when they eat all five colors every day. By breaking produce down into five main color groups of fire-engine red, vibrant orange, sunshine yellow, emerald green, and rich purple you can make eating fruits and vegetables fun for your kids!
As parents we “know” that our children should be eating at least 5 servings of produce a day however getting them to actually eat their fruits and vegetables can sometimes be quite challenging!
Here are 10 tips to help you get your kids eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables:
1. Keep Fruits and Vegetables in Sight: Stock your fridge full of washed and ready to eat fruits and veggies.
2. Remove the Competition: When you fill your kitchen with healthy foods you eliminate the temptation to eat junk…simply because it’s not easily available.
3. Prepare Meals Together: 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. Think about textures: If you have a picky eater keep in mind that texture can play a huge role in that, so offer produce in different ways. Baked, roasted, steamed, raw, juiced, grilled the idea is to find what textures your kids like best. Maybe they like their blueberries frozen or their kale baked into chips. Be food explorers together!
5. Serve a Fruit or Vegetable with Every Meal: In order to reach the daily minimum of 5 fruits and vegetables a day get in the habit of including at least one fruit or vegetable with every meal and snack.
6. Keep it Simple: Raw veggies seem to be a favorite with most kids. Pair it with their favorite dip and you’re set. No need to get too fancy.
7. Be a Good Role Model: If you expect your kids to eat fruits and vegetables you need to be eating them too! What you do is far more effective than what you say when it comes to setting healthy eating habits.
8. Drink A Rainbow: Make smoothies and fresh juices for your kids. This is a great way to get some extra nutrients from fruits and vegetables into their bodies. If you have extra pour it into a popsicle mold for a healthy frozen treat.
9. Keep trying: Did you know that kids need to be exposed to, and ideally taste, a new food as many as 10 times before they’ll accept it? That number is even higher for picky eaters. So don’t give up too soon! You can download a free Today I Tried chart to have fun keeping track: http://www.todayiatearainbow.com/resources/free-downloads/
10. Eat a Rainbow: Focus on providing your kids with fruits and veggies in the five main color groups of the food rainbow. It’s easy and a fun way to approach eating produce.
Here is a fun way to eat an entire rainbow with one recipe:
Rainbow Fruit Sticks
This is a simple way to make eating fruit fun. You could also do a veggie rainbow stick…basically anything on a stick makes it more fun to eat!
All you need is a collection of colorful fruit and some rounded sticks such as popsicle sticks or bamboo skewers! We like to use: Pineapple, Green Grapes, Cantaloupe, Raspberries, Honeydew Melon and Blackberries to give the skewers a nice rainbow effect.
1. Wash your fruit and let dry a little so that they are easy to work with.
2. Arrange your fruit and skewer them in the same order and you’ll end up with a rainbow pattern.
3. Display your Rainbow Fruit Sticks on a platter and enjoy!