Food Play is Good Play

It is important to start healthy eating habits at a young age. This may be a tough task for mothers as kids are quick to decide what they like or dislike. Fruits and vegetables tend to not be at the top of a child’s favorite foods list. It may not even be that they don’t like the taste but rather they do not like the way the food looks. Maybe they have heard that the food does not taste good so they are unwilling to try it.

The ONIE Project has a couple of suggestions for helping your child develop a taste for fruits and vegetables. First, let your child help with choosing fruits and vegetables. When at the grocery store let your child pick one fruit and one vegetable that the family will eat with their dinner or as a snack. Also, try choosing two or three new fruits and vegetables for your child to pick from to keep them from choosing the same regularly. When preparing the fruits and vegetables let your child help, whether it is adding seasonings or simply placing the food on a plate.

Second, let your child play with the food. The ONIE Project loves to create fun snacks with fruits and vegetables that let children have a hands-on experience. Some of our favorite snacks are making funny faces using fruit, creating fruit rainbows, making ants on a log (celery, peanut butter, and raisins), apple cars, and making apple smiles (apple wedges, peanut butter, and raisins). Fruits and vegetables can be a lot of fun for children and parents alike.

Playing with food and allowing the children to choose fruits and vegetables not only helps in expanding the child’s opinion of fruits and vegetables, but also helps in developing motor skills, recognizing colors and shapes, and can help improve their communication skills.