Encouraging Toddlers to Eat Rainbows
Looking to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your kid's diet? Encouraging them to “eat a rainbow” this month can be a fun way to celebrate St. Patty’s Day and other springtime themes. Here are three easy steps to eat a rainbow with your toddler.
Step 1 – Wash the Colors
The first step is to wash hands, cutting boards and knives. This is an important step because we need to ward off germs and food-borne illnesses. Some picky eaters establish pickiness after becoming sick from an unwashed piece of fruit or veggie.
- Even if your toddler is not eating the skin or rind, wash the produce 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 or the ezpz Mushroom Sponge.
- 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 add other colors, too, like white (banana), pink (peach), brown (mushroom) 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.
Red: Strawberry, Tomato, Watermelon
Orange: Cantaloupe, Mango, Sweet Potato
Yellow: Corn, Pineapple, Squash
Green: Asparagus, Broccoli, Green Beans
Blue/Purple: Blueberry, Plum, Purple Carrot
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:
- Bowls: The Mini Bowl is designed for toddlers 12-24 months of age. And the Happy Bowl is geared for older toddlers / preschoolers. The suction feature of the ezpz bowls help little ones eat independently, which means less mess for parents too. Score!
- Utensils: The ezpz Developmental Utensil Set includes the Mini Utensils (spoon and fork for toddlers 12-24 months) as well as the Happy Utensils (larger spoon, fork and training knife for older toddlers / preschoolers). This set helps little ones learn how to eat with a spoon (scooping), a fork (piercing) and a training knife (spreading + cutting).
- 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.
- Plates: The Mini Mat and Happy Mat are an all-in-one placemat + plate that suctions to the table. The mat’s stable base reduces tipped plates and helps toddlers and preschoolers 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! Tag us in your rainbow eating pics with the hashtag #ezpzfun.
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 28 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating tendencies. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning feeding products.