Eat more fruit
My son stopped eating fruit. When I looked closely at what was happening, I realised I wasn’t taking my own advice!
My teen had always enjoyed fruit but seemed to be eating less and less.
Every time I offered, he turned his nose up.
It’s one of the things that creeps up on you slowly and then all of a sudden, bam it slaps you and you realise you haven’t even noticed that your son has stopped eating fruit!
As usual, I find that when I follow my own advice, feeding my boys goes a whole lot more smoothly 😊
Ignoring my own advice about how to eat more fruit
I felt like the plumber with the leaky taps in their own house. So, I stopped and looked at what was happening and realised I was not following the strategies I know are proven to work. The ones that support children to eat more widely and more joyfully.
Strategies for supporting children to eat more fruit
I decided to take my own advice. “If you want more fruit eaten, serve more, make it easy and make it appealing”. So, I did.
My teen loves fresh pineapple and berries are always a win.
Grapes and oranges are accepted and available most of the year in NZ.
Although I am a huge fan of children stepping up and helping with chores etc. I also know that if you want a teen to do something they are not really interested in, then making it as easy as possible really helps.
I’m not sure it’s that much different for most children (or husbands 😉 )
Each morning I chop up a plate of pineapple and orange, add some grapes and leave it ready for him. It’s easy, it looks appealing and because it’s all chopped up it’s simple to pick at. So, he eats it.
When he’s home, after lunch I offer fruit again but usually it’s a no.
Then in the evenings when I know he’s getting hungry a few hours after dinner I bring some chopped fruit into the lounge where everyone is relaxing. I don’t ask, I just bring it in, and because it’s there and it’s easy, it gets eaten.
Even – gasp – my fussy middle-aged child who is not really into fruit will often have a little as it’s there and it’s easy.
So, this is how I have helped my family eat more fruit. Funnily enough, even I eat more fruit when I follow this 🙂
Every night I also make a banana, yoghurt and cream based smoothie (I use cream as it means I don’t need a sweetener). Sometimes I add vanilla and sometimes cocoa powder or berries. I make it late afternoon, and put in the freezer. By the time it’s ready to eat it’s more like an ice cream than a smoothie. I’ve got to tell you it’s pretty darn good!
Even if you have a child who is eating no fruit yet, repeatedly serving is still helpful. It may not feel it, but it really does support fruit eating long-term.
1. Comfort – they are building a comfort level by seeing fruit repeatedly.
2. Opportunity – when it’s there, they have the option to eat it.
3. Modelling – seeing other people eating fruit is very helpful long-term and normalises the practice.
So if you do want your family to eat more fruit – or any other food for that matter – some of these simple steps help:
1. Serve it more often.
2. Make it simple and easy to eat.
3. Make it appealing.
4. Model doing it.
Judith, MA Cantab (Cambridge University), Post Grad Dip Psychology (Massey University), is an AOTA accredited picky eating advisor and internationally certified nutritional therapist. She works with 100+ families every year resolving fussy eating and returning pleasure and joy to the meal table.
She is also mum to two boys and the author of Creating Confident Eaters and Winner Winner I Eat Dinner. Her dream is that every child is able to approach food from a place of safety and joy, not fear.
Learn more about Judith here: https://theconfidenteater.com/about/