Maybe the only green food your child eats is mint chocolate chip ice cream. It's easy to get frustrated when your child eats a limited diet, but it's not too late to learn new habits!
Get your children involved: Even little ones can tear lettuce and wash fruit. Older children can stir or help with chopping things up (under your watchful eyes, of course!) . Let your child be a taste tester. Most children will try what they help prepare.
Focus on colors and flavors: Rather than saying, "Do you like your broccoli?," ask if it was crunchy, sweet, bitter or sour. Ask what other foods are the same color. This often helps children focus beyond yummy or yucky.
Decisions, decisions: Bring your little helper to the grocery store, and let them pick the fruit or vegetable you'll make that week. Let them choose what to have for snack. The trick is to give two good options, i.e. "Should we have apples or pears for a snack?"
Slurp up veggies with soup: Many children like veggies better as part of a soup! Adding carrots, celery and potatoes to chicken noodle soup is a start, or try a bean soup or minestrone. Yummm....
Get growin'! Sprout a seed or even grow a tomato plant and help your child get interested in fruits and vegetables. If you can, take a trip to a local farm for apple, pumpkin or berry picking.
What's in a name? Goblin goop may sound more fun than sweet potatoes. Be creative and come up with your own names for new foods!
Make it fun! Most kids like to dip their food. Let them dip broccoli, carrots, celery and other veggies or Mom Made Meatball Bites and more into ranch dressing, sour cream dip, hummus, guacamole, mild salsa, or plain or vanilla yogurt, etc.
Use more veggie ingredients: Make sweet potato "fries" instead of French fries with dinner. Add butternut squash to Mac and Cheese, add corn, peppers and tomatoes to rice and beans, or let Mom Made make it easy with Mom Made™ Meals.
Have "make your own" yogurt sundaes: Take a scoop of vanilla yogurt, and add toppings like blueberries, bananas, strawberries, pineapple or crushed graham crackers. Fresh or frozen fruit in its own juices are delicious too.
Monkey see, monkey do: Nothing makes kids want food more than seeing someone else enjoy it. Be a great example and make sure you're eating your fruits and veggies, too!
Written by Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD, Mom Made Food's Dietician