How to get your children to eat more fruit and veg in 3 colourful steps
One question that we hear often at Sydney Early Education Centres over our 20+ years is “How do you get my child to eat all that nutritious food?” Let us give you some insights into how to get your child to eat more fruit and vegetables.
We all know that fussy eaters can really turn dinner time upside down. There are many aspects to our educational program that help contribute to even the fussy of eaters trying and enjoying a variety of foods and recipes. We would like to share one of these with families that can easily be used at home. That is, encouraging the children to “eat a rainbow” or at least “taste a rainbow”.
Rainbow Fruit & Vegetables
There are five different colour groups of fruit and vegetables that help to make up a rainbow: red, purple/blue, orange, green and white/brown. Each fruit and vegetable acquires its colour and healthy properties from the particular phytochemicals that they contain. Some phytochemicals have antiviral and antibacterial properties, while others can help to reduce the risk of cancer, stroke or heart disease.
Fruit and vegetable colour chart
Adapted from and for more information: https://healthykids.nsw.gov.au/munch-move-resources/ https://nutritionaustralia.org/fact-sheets/eat-a-rainbow/
How to encourage children to “eat a rainbow” at home
Step 1: Read the rainbow
Read books and literature together about different fruit and vegetables. Because these are a powerful tool to motivate and teach children about healthy eating habits. Talk with your child about tasting different rainbow vegetables and fruit and why we should eat them. Some great reading resources are:
‘Rainbow Plate’ by Dr Preeya Alexander is a new book that SEEC services have been reading with the children recently. Families may also like to share this at home with children through the video of early years nutrition expert, Amy, reading ‘Rainbow Plate’ at the link.
Step 2: Cook the rainbow
Try cooking recipes with your children that encourage the use of a variety of vegetables or fruit, for example, pizzas, soup and fruit salad. ‘Try for 5’ website has some different healthy recipe ideas.
SEEC’s educators also find that another powerful way of encouraging children to try new vegetables and fruits is to actively involve them in cultivating them and then and preparing the vegetables and
If you’re looking for a song to sing-a-long to while you cook, check out the Teeny Tiny Stevies and the “I ate a rainbow” song, it’s bound to get you in the mood to try new things.
Step 3: Eat the rainbow
Serve new food to children in an aesthetic and if possible creative way. For example, make a tropical rainbow fruit salad with oranges, strawberries, mango, rockmelon, kiwifruit, bananas, and blueberries. Encourage children to try new foods without pressure, even if they just start by touching or smelling them.
A great activity that you can make at home is a fruit and vegetable rainbow poster or placemat. Each time your child eats a colourful fruit or vegetable they can place a corresponding sticker or texta mark/shape in the applicable rainbow section.
We truly hope that these insights, have helped you get your children on the path to eat more fruit and vegetables. If you would like to find out more about our centres you can book a tour or send us a message
Further reading and resources: Healthy Kids NSW - Eat more fruit and veg Healthy Kids NSW - New foods and fussy eaters Eat for health - Guidelines