Make nutritious eating fun and attractive

January 24, 2011 by  
Filed under OBESITY

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How do you convince a 5-year old to eat fruit and vegetables? I know of moms who are tearing their hair out as to how to make their children eat healthy stuff. Cajoling, bribery, coercion. I am pretty sure these moms have tried all the tricks of their trade.

I want to share with you a couple of things that just might work for you. It worked for me although I must admit that my kids are easy when it comes to eating.

The traffic light trick

If you let the kids have a say in the matter, perhaps they’d be more amenable to eating fruit and veggies. Try the traffic light trick and let kids choose 3 healthy food items they could try for the week – one red, one yellow/orange, and one green. At the end of the month, they have the chance to vote as to the best-tasting traffic light trio.

The reds:

  • Tomatoes
  • Apples
  • Red capsicum

The yellows/oranges:

  • Yellow capsicums
  • Oranges
  • Carrots

The greens:

  • Cucumber
  • Courgettes
  • Beans/peas

Add to the list some of the seasonal fruit and vegetables and your kid will have a wide range of food to choose from!

The fruit and/or veggie barbecue

Prepare slice of several types of veggies and fruit of different colors. Let the kids “string” them on a barbecue stick. You can also use the traffic light principle here to encourage diversity. The barbecue must include at least 1 red, 1 yellow/orange, and 1 green item. As an incentive, the kids can insert a marshmallow or gum drop in between. But only a teeny, weeny one.

The decorate-your-food strategy

A bowl of hot porridge may seem uninviting to many kids. So why not give them a chance to make it more appealing? Let them decorate their own porridge – with slices of fruit. Thin apple slices are perfect for hair. Blueberries make great eyes but raisins are great substitutes. There’s nothing like a strawberry to form red lips but a slice of peach or apricot can work, too. Or just simply take whatever is available in the kitchen and let the kids decide how they’d make their masterpiece. By then, the porridge has cool down enough to be eaten. Yummy! Check out the photos of kids’ handiwork!

Here’s another suggestion, a gem of a recipe I found at world’s healthiest foods (

10-minute Kiwi Mandala

Prep and Cook Time: 10 minutes


•             8-oz low-fat vanilla or soy yogurt

•             3 TBS fresh orange juice

•             1 TBS cream honey**

•             1/2 tsp grated orange rind*

•             1/4 tsp grated lemon rind*

•             1 kiwifruit

•             4 strawberries

•             Optional: 2 TBS chopped walnuts or pecans, orange zest for topping


1.            In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt, orange juice, honey and grated orange and lemon rind, making sure the honey is completed blended into the yogurt.

2.            Place in 2 shallow soup dishes.

3.            Peel the kiwifruit and slice into 1/8″ rounds.

4.            Take the stems off of the strawberries and cut them lengthwise into 4 pieces.

5.            Arrange the fruit in a beautiful pattern on top of the yogurt mixture and sprinkle with some grated orange rind and nuts if desired.

6.            Refrigerate for 1/2 hour so that the yogurt is well chilled.

Or simply create a mandala with other fruits.

Or what about vegetables to make a mandala salad?

Bon appétit!

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3 Responses to “Make nutritious eating fun and attractive”
  1. Andrew Biggs says:

    I always encourage my kids to eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, I even read them from an encyclopedia the effects of vitamins and minerals. At OxyContin rehab where I work we give our patients a lot of fruits, their bodies need vitamins. With kids its another story, the food must look nice, sometimes my younger son don`t want to eat because he does not like how the food looks, even if it tastes good.

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