It appears that children eat more fruit when they are prepared in a fun and attractive manner.
We often hear that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. And yet, when it comes to food, appearances count! Think of the big fast-food chains: they know very well that packaging has an impact on children’s interest in the meals offered. Likewise, it appears that children eat more fruit when they are prepared in a fun and attractive manner.
To test this hypothesis, researchers offered nearly 100 seven-year-old children some apples, strawberries and grapes presented in various ways. They found that when colourful cocktail sticks were skewered into a watermelon to create a hedgehog, the children ate up to twice the amount of fruit compared to when the fruit was presented in a more traditional manner.
The key to seduction seems to be innovation. While nothing complicated is required, it is important to vary flavours, colours, shapes and textures in order to maintain or elicit kids’ curiosity and interest in fruits and vegetables.
Here are some good ideas:
- Offer fruit salads
- Create characters or animals out of pieces of fruit or vegetables
- Make fruit or vegetable skewers
- Make smoothies
- Prepare a dip for the vegetables or fruits
- Make home-made frozen lollipops out of yogurt and frozen fruit
- Garnish pancakes or waffles with a mound of fruit
Another technique is to “hide” fruits and vegetables in soups or sauces. Since we don’t always have time to create extravagant shapes with our fruits and vegetables, cutting them into triangles, cubes or strips is an easy way to make them interesting. Go ahead and be creative – you’ll see that your children will eat more fruits and vegetables!