Not only does it look pretty, but it does our bodies good to incorporate a colorful mosaic of fruits and vegetables into our daily meals. The outward appearance of produce is quite telling to the beneficial properties it contains, and by ‘eating the rainbow’ we ensure that our bodies get a variety of powerful nutrients. Not surprisingly, these sort of facts just aren’t enough to convince your five-year-old to eat what you put in front of them. Our tip? Make eating fun! Keep these easy-to-follow meal and snack ideas up your sleeve for equal boosts of color, creativity and healthy eating!
1. Fruit Kabobs
Because everything’s better on a stick. Grab two wooden, plastic or even metal skewers (ensuring that the points are dull, and always keeping supervision). On a plate add a sliced banana, a few strawberries (halved), and a handful of blueberries. Show your little one how to pierce the fruit pieces onto the stick and slide them down, but allow them to do the arranging and decide on the order. You can make a breakfast version and alternate the fruit with pieces of torus-shaped cereal. Ready for dessert? Dip your kabobs in white chocolate sauce.
2. Mad Scientist Smoothies
One thing parents and babysitters know about toddlers learning to eat is that it doesn’t take long before they want to be in complete control. Set out a variety of fruit and vegetables on the kitchen counter and let your child decide what will go into their breakfast smoothie. Encourage them to choose 2-3 different fruits and 1-2 veggies. Younger children can add the fruit pieces themselves to the blender (with the power turned off), and older kids could even press ‘on,’ and be the one who sets the fruit into a frantic whir. One of our favorite liquid experiments? A handful of blueberries, one banana, the juice of an orange and a big handful of spinach and kale. You can always add water or your milk of choice to help thin out the smoothie.
3. Frozen Bites
This bite-sized treat is ideal for enjoying with your pint-sized friend as a healthy dessert option, a sweet movie snack to balance out the salty popcorn, or as a midday snack on a warm day. Line a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper. Place one cup of natural or Greek yogurt in a bowl, and one cup of fresh blueberries in another. Using a toothpick, dip one blueberry at a time into the yogurt, covering it thoroughly. Carefully slide the little blue off the toothpick and onto the parchment paper. Repeat until all the blueberries are dressed in yogurt and resting on the parchment paper, slightly spaced. Slide the pan or plate into your freezer and allow the fruit bites to harden (about one hour). After they’ve set, transfer the frozen bites to a reclosable bag and store in the freezer - or place in a bowl and enjoy them in the moment!