Bringing Healthy Foods to Children for Improved Nutrition
- Introducing Healthy Food to Children for Improved Nutrition!
- Our Children’s Program is trying to visit each head start classroom in all eight counties we serve
- Our Goal: Visit 40-80 children a week from January through June, averaging 4 pounds of fresh produce per child per visit
We set up child-sized farmers markers in their school and the kids get to pick what fruits and vegetables they want to take home to try.
We try to get things that are in season for best taste or really colorful and appealing.
This month: mini peppers, cara cara oranges, key limes, radishes, baby carrots, apples, avocados, grapefruits, sweet potatoes, d’anjou pears, different types of potatoes
It can be risky introducing 3- and 4-year-old children to new foods. Fruits and Vegetables are expensive and perishable. Cosmic apples are $6. No one is buying that on a whim right now. Letting the kids pick what they want to try makes it more likely they will eat it – and this is a way to introduce them to produce they may not normally get at home in smaller amounts that are “let’s try something new” friendly.
They are big fans of big vegetables and fruits. They love picking up the grapefruits and squash.
We hope it encourages families to do taste testing at home and to look up recipes to try new sides at home.
We definitely have a taco theme this month with radishes, limes, and peppers. Cara Cara Oranges are fun because they are pink on the inside and really sweet. It’s fun to bring things like that and rainbow carrots and show kids what fruit and vegetables look like before they are chopped up. We convinced someone to try a potato by telling them that is what they use to make french fries. Getting kids to eat more fresh fruit and veggies is really about exposure and positive interactions that allow them choice. A child development book taught me it takes being introduced to a new vegetable 20 times before a kid will like it so don’t give up. Keep encouraging kids to be courageous eaters.
Contributed by Heidi Davis – Children’s Programs Coordinator