Encouraging Toddlers to Eat Rainbows
One important feeding goal is to incorporate fruits and vegetables into our kids’ meals. Encouraging them to “eat a rainbow” this month can be a fun way to celebrate St. Patty’s day and other fun springtime themes. Here are my three easy steps to eat a rainbow with your toddler.
Step 1 – Wash the Colors
The first step is to wash our hands, cutting boards and knives before prepping our rainbows. This is an important step because we need to ward off germs and foodborne illnesses. Many of my picky eaters became picky after becoming sick from an unwashed piece of fruit or veggie.
- Even if your toddler is not eating the skin or rind, we still need to wash them thoroughly. The skin / rind may touch their hands and lips.
- Wash fruits and vegetables under running tap water and lightly scrub with a vegetable brush.
- Include your toddler in the washing process. Let them run the water, hold the food or do the scrubbing. Washing is a great sensory activity and a wonderful way to introduce the fruit / vegetable before you ask them to try it!
Step 2 – Select the Colors
Using a rainbow as a guide is an easy way to ensure your kids are getting a wide range of vitamins. Each color group (red, orange, yellow, green and blue/purple) provides a unique set of nutrients. So, if your toddler consumes several colors per day, they are eating the nutrients they need to thrive! You can even add other colors too, like white (banana), pink (peach), brown (potato) and black (olives)! A variety of tints is the key to ward off picky eating! I’ve put together a short list by color so you can mix and match to create quick, healthy and delicious options for your toddler.
- Tomatoes (pictured)
- Cantaloupe (pictured)
- Sweet Potato
- Pineapple (pictured)
- Green Beans (pictured)
- Purple Carrots (pictured)
Step 3 – Display the Colors
I like to display fruits and veggies in a fun way to get kids interested in color + trying new foods. And placing foods in a bowl or plate that suctions to the table helps toddlers become independent at mealtime. The suction feature helps improve the use of their ‘helper hand’ (non-dominant hand) to support themselves on the rim of the bowl, while they can use their dominant hand to pick-up or pierce food out of the bowl. Using feeding products that are designed with ages and stages in mind is essential for encouraging little eaters to try a rainbow! Here are ezpz’s toddler products:
- Mini Bowl (pictured): The ezpz Mini Bowl is designed for toddlers 12-24 months of age. The suction feature of the Mini Bowl helps little ones to eat independently and means less mess for parents.
- Mini Utensils: This set includes the Mini Spoon and Mini Fork (pictured). The ezpz Mini Utensils are designed to help toddler learn how to eat with a spoon (scooping) and fork (piercing).
- Mini Cup + Straw Training System: Learning to drink from a straw is an important developmental milestone that develops lip rounding and promotes speech development. The ezpz Mini Cup + Straw Training System teaches toddlers to drink from an open cup and safely learn to use a straw.
- Mini Mat: The Mini Mat is an all-in-one placemat + plate that suctions to the table. The mat’s stable base reduces tipped plates and helps infants and toddlers learn to self-feed.
- Mini Play Mat: The Mini Play Mat is an all-in-one mat + flower compartments that assists with keeping food, paints, or other crafts separate and organized.
I hope these three steps help you explore rainbows with your toddler! Need a little more help coming up with colorful food ideas for your little one? Check out our book, Making Mealtime ezpz: Fun Ways to Fill the Happy Mat, for some serious inspiration! The Happy Mat + Book Bundle makes a great rainbow gift too! #ezpzfun
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).