I’m on a mission to convert my youngest child, my little carnivore, into a part-time fruitivore. My four year-old son Harris loves his animal protein. He has no problem putting down lamb chops, burgers, salmon, mahi mahi or shrimp when prepared to his liking and dipped in massive amounts of ketchup (not complaining). But when it comes to fruit, he won’t bite.
So this summer I decided I was up for the challenge. I realized that my child’s long term health was more important than my short term sanity and so I devised a plan.
1. I starved him. I’m kidding! But seriously I made sure that come snack time he was hungry. Over-snacking is an epidemic in this country. All of those delish crunchy prepackaged foods work wonders on curbing our children’s appetite for whole foods. So yeah, we nipped that in the bud. Click here to read a fab article from the Chicago Tribune which discusses America’s “culture for snackism” and its effect on our children.
2. I cut the convenience food & made it mandatory. In the same way that I taught my son to share, not to hit when he is frustrated, to say “excuse me” and “thank you,” I also decided to teach him how to eat well. Teaching our children healthy eating habits should be a priority. We owe it to them. The new rule effective immediately was that all snacks had to be fruit. Done and done. We got rid of the chips, crackers and snack bars and replaced them with fruit (mostly in season). The result:my kids ate more of their actual lunch/dinner and you’ll see what happened next.
3. I found a”Gateway Food.” The “polite one bite” wasn’t working for us. There were tears, foot stopping, irrational conversations. I knew I needed a vehicle to get the juicy, in-season fruit into his adorable little mouth. I needed a Gateway Food.
The tricky part was finding a Gateway Food that was just as healthy as the fruit. He loves anything covered in whipped cream (who doesn’t?), but that would defeat the purpose. Then it hit me his Gateway Food is yogurt! The kid cannot go a single morning without a yogurt.
- Mix Greek yogurt with cinnamon and honey (alternatives: orange zest, applesauce, agave, peanut butter, maple syrup)
- Finely crushed walnuts
- Finely crushed granola
- Finely crushed graham crackers
Skewer the fruit with toothpicks and let your kids dip the fruit into the yogurt then into a crunchy topping of choice.
*to all the foodies out there…I know that fondue traditionally uses a HOT cooking medium
How did it go you ask? Check it out for yourself!
Homemade yogurt fruit pops, parfaits and shakes are all great ways to introduce fruit into your kids diets. I’ll be posting a few of my favorite fruit pop recipes next week!
Follow me on Twitter @finicky2foodie for more tips on how to convert your finicky eater into a full-fledged foodie!