How to Make Your Child Love Fruits and Veggies

Is your child a picky eater? Don’t despair! Candice Floyd, a Nutrition Program Specialist in Mary’s Center SNAP-Ed program, has some great ideas on how to make mealtimes with your little one a pleasure and not a pain.

Start Early and Persevere.

·         Introduce fruits and veggies to your child when they are an infant, beginning around 6 months old.

·         Keep the food plain so your child appreciates the taste of the fruit or vegetable, not the added salt or sugars.

·         Introduce one new food a week to check for allergies.

·         Remember that it can take several tries to get a toddler to like a certain food item.


Be An Example.

·         Your child will model your behavior, so have a happy face when you introduce new foods, even if you don’t love those foods yourself.

·         Shop together and let your child pick out a new vegetable or fruit to try.

·         Cook together and let your son or daughter measure ingredients and stir them in to feel part of the process.


Remove These Phrases From the Home:

·         My child won’t like that.

·         I don’t like that so he/she won’t like it either.

·         He/She only eats chicken nuggets and fries.

·         I don’t know to cook that.

·         Eew!


Pair Vegetables With Their Favorite Meals.  

For example, you can serve the following:

·         Pork chops with apple sauce and spinach

·         Grilled cheese sandwich dipped into tomato soup

·         White fish with salsa and brown rice

·         Baked herb chicken with mango chutney and roasted ginger brussels sprouts


Serve Fruit and Veggies In Different Ways.

Try these ideas:

·         Sautéed kale, kale chips, smoothies, or raw with a light dressing

·         Wrap warm bean and rice in cool crisp lettuce

·         Dip fruit in a yogurt peanut butter dip

And if If all else fails,


Hide Fruits and Veggies In Your Child’s Favorite Foods.

·         Put small chopped mushroom and peppers in spaghetti

·         Hide spinach in smoothies, pizza, casseroles and omelets.

·         Conceal cut up broccoli in mac and cheese.

·         Use Spaghetti squash instead of pastas. Spaghetti squash, also known as vegetable spaghetti, looks just like other squash when it is raw, but when cooked, the flesh makes ribbons or strands like spaghetti.

Remember : It’s only food. Don’t let it become a source of conflict between you and your child. Above all be creative and have fun!

If you'd like our SNAP-Ed team to speak about nutrition topics at your house of worship, community center or school, please call 202-420-7146.

Candice Floyd - Nutrition - Mary's Center Snap-Ed Program

About Candice Floyd

Candice Floyd joined Mary’s Center as a Nutrition Program Specialist in August 2016. She is originally from Winston-Salem and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in May 2013. She loves nutrition, people, science fiction and dancing. A belly dancer and proud mother of a teenage daughter, Candice is a self-proclaimed “Queen of Snacks” because she always has healthy snacks on hand for herself and others. Her continuing battle with Crohn’s disease has led her to understand how eating correctly can greatly improve health and wellbeing. Therefore, her outreach duties at Mary’s Center are not just work; they are part of her personal mission and passion. 


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