A few people have emailed asking why we often include fruit as a side dish with our dinner plans. As we are coming into the gardening season in New England when fresh produce and farmers markets are plentiful, we thought we would give a quick explanation. For one, its healthy! Two, it sets up life long habits with your kids, making fruit a daily & normal part of their diet. How many times do you hear the complaint “my kids aren’t big fruit eaters”. I truly believe the trick is to make fruit a regular and consistent part of their daily meals, whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Since my kids have been toddlers, I have put fruit on their plates with dinner. I often will also put a bowl of mixed fruit on the table while I am finishing up with dinner and it usually will help with the raids on the goldfish crackers, cookies, etc 15 minutes before I put dinner on the table. We all know how irritating that can be! So a bowl of grapes, strawberries , or cut up apples will usually divert their attention away from the pantry (notice I said usually, not always!). I also try to keep it varied and expose them to new fruits when the seasons change.
I realized how much my kids considered fruit a normal part of their dinner plates a few months ago when I was serving dinner and the fruit bowl was completely empty that day. My three kids all asked “No fruit?” They were truly disappointed it was missing. So I would suggest if you are looking to get your kids to be better fruit eaters, try putting it on the table at dinner more often. Don’t be discouraged if this idea does not take off right away, it might take some time. Given most of us need to get more of this healthy food group in our diet, its worth the effort!