When it comes to children’s eating habits, often one word comes to mind – picky. It can be quite the task to ensure your kid is getting enough vitamins and nutrients when they want to eat chicken fingers and fries for every meal!

One way to encourage children to eat their fruits and vegetables is to present the meal in a creative and fun way. Below are 10 tips to get your kids excited about their fruits and veggies!

  1. Delicious Dippers: Using plain yogurt with seasonings such as herbs or garlic instead of salad dressing is a great way to increase calcium and probiotics in your child’s diet. Children love dipping foods and will often dip foods they would otherwise never touch. Serve dip with raw vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, or cauliflower. For fruit, try flavoring the yogurt with cinnamon or vanilla and serving with chunks of pineapple, strawberry, apple or berries.
  2. Fruity Peanut Butterfly: You can make a fruity peanut butterfly by using carrot or celery sticks for the body, thinly sliced apples for wings, peanut butter as glue and dried fruit for decoration.
  3. Homemade Trail Mix: Store bought trail mix are typically sweetened, and may include preservatives or other additives and tends to be more costly than the made-at-home version. Use your favorite nuts and dried fruits to make a tasty on-the-go snack. Try unsalted peanuts, cashews, walnuts, or sunflower seeds mixed with dried apples, pineapple, cherries, apricots, or raisins. For additional crunch, add whole-grain cereals to the mix, too!
  4. Smoothies: Kids love frozen drinks! Blend yogurt with fruit pieces and crushed ice to make a delicious treat. Smoothies are very versatile; you can use fresh, frozen, canned, and even overripe fruits! Some favorite smoothie fruits are bananas, berries, peaches and pineapple. You can even leave out the ice if you freeze the fruit first!
  5. Healthy Kabobs: All you need is a stick and some yummy fruits and vegetables to make a kabob! Assemble chunks of melon, apple, orange, and pears for a fruity version. To make a veggie version, try zucchini, cucumber, squash, sweet peppers or tomatoes.
  6. Frosty Fruits: Frozen fruits make delicious snacks. You can make frozen “popsicles” by inserting sticks into peeled bananas and freezing them. Try frozen melon chunks, strawberries and blueberries for yummy snacks. For the sour fans in your life, you can sprinkle powdered gelatin mix over grapes and freeze.
  7. Potato Person: Make a real life Mr. Potato Head with half a baked potato! Use sliced cherry tomatoes, peas, and low-fat cheese on the potato to make a funny face.
  8. Personalized Pizzas: Set up your own healthy pizza parlor in your kitchen! Try whole-wheat English muffins, bagels or pita bread as the crust and top with your favorite cut-up vegetables or fruits. Just pop the pizzas in the oven to warm and you have a fun, healthy alternative to your go-to delivery place. Remember, you can always pick off undesired toppings, so let the kids have fun and choose their own favorites to top the pizza!
  9. Bugs on a Log: This one is great for when you are in a rush or low on supplies. Use celery, cucumbers, or carrot sticks as the log and add peanut butter. Now pick your bug of choice – raisins, cranberries, or cherries!
  10. Put Kids in Charge: Kids love helping in the kitchen! As often as possible, enlist your little one to help prepare their treats. Ask your child to name new veggies or fruit creations to get them excited about “their” new dish. Remember, children should never be left unaccompanied in a kitchen and be cautious with sharp and potentially hot objects.

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