The toddler years are a time of rapid change and extraordinary development for your little one, and a time when diet preferences start to form. Just when you think you know what your toddler likes to eat, your little one’s growing independence with food means they might take matters into their own hands – perhaps becoming fussy about food!
Children’s food expert, and mum to two year old Molly, Lucy Thomas is passionate about inspiring children to enjoy fruit and vegetables. She has teamed up with Organix for its #LoveGoodFood campaign to get toddlers exploring, enjoying and sharing the wonderful world of fruit and veggies.
Lucy says, “It can be challenging for parents to get their little ones to eat fruit and veg, however, toddlers are naturally curious about the world around them so helping them learn about the colours, the funny shapes, smells and textures of a variety of fruit and vegetables in a fun environment and away from mealtime can really help get them excited about food.
“As parents we tend to think about food as just eating but we forget the simple pleasure that children can get from peeling their own banana, enjoying how it feels to pull down each piece of skin.”
Try these fun ideas from Lucy to help encourage your little one to explore and enjoy their fruit and veggies:
- Encourage a wider interest in food, without asking them to eat or taste anything. Get them to smell, kiss, lick or crunch. You can show your child how to smell strawberries and lick one to feel the bumpiness of the seeds on the outside.
- Give them lots of opportunities to touch and handle fresh fruit and vegetables, whether out shopping, at home cooking or even growing food. This will help them be more relaxed and interested in food.
- Get a little messy – let your little one squash a tomato or squeeze an orange while you are cooking. If they feel comfortable handling a food they are more likely to want to eat it.
- Let your child explore different textures of food by juicing, blending, grating or mashing foods with your help.
- Explore vegetables raw as well as cooked, it’s a great way to overcome a dislike of a vegetable. For example, small crunchy florets of cauliflower for dipping are delicious – and taste very different to cooked cauliflower.