When I was growing up, grapes were my go-to fruit because they were just so easy to eat. My all-time favorite fruit, however, is and will always be the pomegranate. I just love the flavor of pomegranates but I absolutely hate how tedious it is just to peel and seed a pomegranate. I remember that as a child, my family would often vacation in Mexico and they always sold pomegranates in a cup that have already been seeded. It was the best snack ever! It was so easy to eat and so convenient as I didn’t have to work so hard to peel and seed the fruit. The process of seeding a pomegranate was so time consuming that I often NEVER ate them even though they were my favorite. This was my logic as a child and so it resonated with me that maybe my kids don’t eat as much fruit as they should for the same reason. See, every time we purchased any fruit, my husband and I always put it in the refrigerator to keep fresh. But I realized that week after week, month after month, all that fruit we bought on a regular basis was going to waste because my kids were never going into the refrigerator to eat an apple or an orange. I don’t know if they were too lazy to do it, or if they just got distracted by the big bottle of Ginger Ale that they never made it to the apple. So, as a mother, I know that I had to do something so that my kids could get the healthy supplements they needed in foods like fruits and vegetables. I began to think of the logic I had as a child. I remembered how much I used to hate eating pomegranates and often refused to eat them because of how time consuming it was to seed them even though they were and still are my favorite fruit.
As a solution, I began to leave fruits like apples, oranges, and bananas in a fruit bowl out on the dinner table making them easily accessible to my kids. I quickly noticed that by the end of the week, they had consumed all the fruit that I left in the fruit bowl. They were actually eating the fruit! I was ecstatic! Not only were they eating all the fruit, but they were also notifying me when the fruit was running low! I used another strategy as well, in between meals, instead of waiting for them to ask me for a specific snack (usually a cookie here, or a pastry there), I would place a plate full of veggies and a small side of dressing in front of them without giving them an option to choose their own snacks. This strategy worked so well because my kids are usually so distracted by their “fun time” that they didn’t even realize they were eating broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers and by the time they did notice, the veggies would be gone!
I realized that they can’t dictate what they want to eat. It is my job (and my husband’s) to make sure that our kids are eating healthy meals and have healthy options to choose from. And even though my husband and I always take their opinions into consideration when it comes to meal choices (breakfast, lunch and dinner), I decided to take the reign in determining the snack options they are allowed to choose from especially since we have a family history of diabetes and heart disease. It is my job, as their mother, to ensure that they not only have a fighting chance against these diseases, but to help them form good eating habits for their future. It all begins at home!
If you have any strategies that you used or still use with your children, please share in the comments below. I would love to try it out with my kids!