An Expert Explains How To Teach Your Kids To Love Fruits And Veggies

by Team Scary Mommy
Originally Published: 
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Remember those bubbling feelings of excitement and possibility when your little one was ready to ditch the liquid-only diet and start exploring the wide world of solids? Babe, same. I was all heart-eyes over the fresh flavors, variety, and culinary magic I was about to unleash on my unsuspecting baby, and my enthusiasm was met with my baby promptly flinging a spoonful of avocado back at me, into my hair.

Helping your kid learn to love fruits and veggies is a constant learning curve, and you’re not the first parent to wave the white flag over a pile of peas. That’s why we’re here to help you win at getting your minis to not just chew, swallow, and sorta tolerate healthy foods, but learn to love ‘em for a lifetime.

Enter these pro tips from Cassandra Curtis, a Certified Integrated Nutrition Health Coach, co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Once Upon a Farm, and mom who has some “been there, tried that” advice for us parents in the same boat as you. Keep rowing…you’ve got this!

1. Ditch preconceived notions.

This is so important. Get rid of the idea that your kid is hard-wired to hate fruits, veggies, and other healthy stuff, because they’re not! They are clean slates ready to be introduced to your favorites with enthusiasm, so lead by example knowing they’ll pick up on your good energy and habits.

It also helps to be mindful of where this anti-fruit-and-veg vibe comes from in the first place. Asked why it seems like so many kids dislike fruits and vegetables, Curtis suspects that part of the reason could be parent’s lack of awareness of healthy food options, as well as the sheer accessibility and marketing messages of junk food. Having been down this road before, Curtis offers a simple tip for moms who find themselves in the same boat: “When I’m shopping with my kids, we don’t head straight to the snack aisle. Instead, we shop longer in the produce section where I’m finding more convenient, nutritious snack options (like our yummy blends!) that my kids love. Yes, you can grab fruits and veggies, but fresh snacking is becoming a bigger deal for parents and retailers are finally listening.” Stay informed, stay wise to flashy marketing, and look for affordable, quality options that support your lifestyle.

2. Start ‘em young.

Once your kiddo hits six months, it’s time to start setting the stage for a lifetime of great food choices ahead. That’s the golden age to introduce age-appropriate offerings with a range of fruits, veggies, grains, herbs, and spices, Curtis shares.

“First bites matter! What you feed your little ones in those first 1,000 days and beyond affects the food choices they will prefer as adults,” she says. “As parents, we’ve made a promise to help our children reach their fullest potential, and food plays a huge role in that. The food we feed our kids early on in life impacts their future food preferences, and we help families create that preference for fresh food and snacks.” Some great options to start your little one out with are Once Upon a Farm’s fruit and veggie blends that are made with certified organic and Non-GMO Project Verified produce — plus come in those kid-friendly squeezy pouches we all love so much.

Green Kale & Apples Organic Fruit & Veggie Blend, $39.48 for 12

OhMyMega Veggie! Organic Fruit & Veggie Blend, $39.48 for 12

3. Don’t give up.

If you didn’t know that it can take 10 to 15 times for a baby to accept a new food, you’re not alone — neither did we. But it’s true, so dust yourself off, scrape the avocado from your hair, and try again, friend.

“So many parents end up giving up if their child rejects a food the first or second time, thinking that they just don’t like it,” Cassandra says. “The more we can introduce them to new flavors, spices, herbs, veggies, and fruits early on, the more expanded their palate becomes.”

4. Make it easy on yourself.

Mealtimes can be stressful, and they just keep comin’! Save yourself time and precious parenthood energy by planning ahead, stocking up on your family’s favorites, and being ready for whatever the day brings. Choose at-home or on-the-go options that fit quickly, easily, and deliciously into real life, and can even be delivered right to your front door, because yes please.

“It’s tough spending hours in the kitchen washing, chopping, cooking, and blending baby food when you can spend that time with your family. Shockingly, I found that I could buy better refrigerated food designed for pets than I could for my little one,” Curtis recalls, which was a major motivator for her and her Once Upon a Farm co-founder Jennifer Garner to pioneer the fresh baby food category with farm-fresh, nutritious, and delicious first bites and snacks. Their latest innovations are dairy-free organic smoothies and flavorful immunity blends that are perfect for on-the-go lifestyles.

Pineapple, Banana & Dragon Fruit Immunity Blend, $44.28 for 12

Strawberry Banana Swirl Dairy-Free Smoothie, $39.48 for 12

5. Have fun with it.

We get it — you’re busy, and mealtime doesn’t always bring the term “yay!” to mind. But mixing up the routine will keep things fresh for you and your kids, and bring more brightness into the whole thing.

Curtis suggests cutting fruits and veggies into fun shapes and using them to make happy faces on their plate, or introducing dips such as nut butters, hummus, or homemade ranch. “Use enthusiasm in your voice around healthy snacking and bring out a variety of options,” she says. “My kids always respond better to food when it is associated with uplifting energy. And depending on their age, explain how healthy snacking will give them more energy to do the things they love during the day.”

Ready to start your kids on the path toward loving fruits and veggies? Build a bundle of Once Upon a Farm blends, then subscribe to save on regular deliveries to your doorstep. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

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