Colorful and crunchy, fruits are a very important element of children’s diet. They are recognized as a good source of vitamins and minerals. The nutrients in fruits are vital for health and maintenance of our body. A ‘fruitful’ diet is an overall healthy diet, protects against certain diseases and maintains optimum health. Most children eat fruits as their first ever solid food but as that become independent eaters; they become very fussy with food, especially fruits. It is not possible for parents to force their children to eat fruits or vegetables. All they can do is develop or alter their eating behavior and this can be done during the transition from milk diet of infancy to the solid food diet that children consume in early childhood. And this habit can be developed by making fruits a daily part of meals so that children can enjoy eating fruits always in a new way. This is how they learn best. There are some other tips that can encourage fruit eating among your children. They are:
- Offer variety of fruits to your child as children gets bored by eating the familiar food. You should never assume that your child does not like this particular fruit, keep trying always because maybe the next time you offer it to them, they decide to try it. Their taste changes with age. You can try and make different dishes from fruits and offer them.
- Involve your children in food presentation, preparation, and planning, ask them to chose what fruit they would like to eat and rather than searching for new recipes, you can increase the amount and variety of fruits in your home recipes like apple, banana, papaya etc. Just as children expect rewards after hard work, children who have a hand in preparing the food will be excited to eat it as well.
- For developing the taste of fruits in your children right from the infancy, take more fruits in your diet as the food you eat to make their way to your milk in your infant’s belly, the countless amount of fruit diet will flavor your milk, however subtly and the child will know the taste even before a single fruit touches his or her mouth.
- Persistence! You will have to be very persistent when you introduce certain fruits to your child. He or she may reject some fruits but repeatedly offering a variety of fruits usually leads to acceptance.
- Become a good role model. For your child to like fruits, you yourself should be a person who eats fruits. Children learn by observing and imitating, thus you need to become their positive role model. Serve fruits to them and try to have meals with them. Let them see you making good food choices. Do not criticize or force your children to eat fruits. There is always an easy way out.
- You can add fruits to their existing favorites like you can garnish cereal with fruits, add fruits to pancakes or yogurt, adding as many fruits as you can in custard, adding fruits like oranges, grapes, pineapple, mango, strawberries, banana and apple in daily salad or you can make coleslaw sandwiches for breakfast, adding fruit slices in it.
As it is rightly said, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Certainly, fruits are a really essential element of a healthy diet, and no matter what, every child should have fruits in their daily supplementary diet.