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How I Got My Teenage Children To Eat More Fruit…

Since having children I have tried my best to educate them about the importance of healthy eating. And when they were younger all I had to do was to prepare a bowl of chopped fresh fruit and they would happily munch their way through it, whilst I read to them or they watched a program on telly. They didn’t moan or complain they just ate the fruit.

Photographic evidence of teenagers eating fruit!

Now my children are teenagers…

I have a son of 17 and a daughter of 14, who even though they are old enough and sensible enough to understand why eating fruit and vegetables is good for us, they seem to have done an about turn and now physically cringe when I suggest grabbing some fruit as a snack when they are hungry.

I was hoping that by their ages they would eat fruit without having to be prompted to, but no luck there. I cook our main meal, but they are responsible for getting themselves a light evening meal. When I hear them rustling up something – which is usually a sandwich of sorts, cheese on toast or a tin of fish on toast – I will subtly (not!) suggest adding a piece of fruit or two to their plates…..Which never seems to happen.

Teenagers Will Always Think They Know Best…

Not only have I explained why eating fruit and vegetables is good for us, but I know they have also been taught it at school….In the very same school that sells pies, crisps and doughnuts in the school shop and not one piece of fruit!

I have explained to my children, as many other parents have to theirs, that eating the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables every day will lower the risk of getting heart disease, certain cancers and other such nasty diseases when they are older.

Eating fruit and vegetables also helps us to feel good and look good too, as our body benefits from the nutrients in the fruit. I was hoping that one would play on their vanity, but my children are both happy in their own skin – which I am eternally grateful for.

I suspect that my children’s loss of interest in eating fruit stems partly from laziness and partly from thinking they know best.

But Mum’s Come Up With A Plan!..

The summer is here and one of the things I love about summer is the abundance of juicy fresh fruit.

Local fruit growers sell their surplus fruit at the side of the road. Shops and vegetable stalls are selling peaches, nectarines, cherries, apricots, plums, water melons, yellow melons and various types of grapes from seedless black to strawberry grapes to seedless green – so the pips can no longer be used as an excuse not to eat grapes! Soon fresh figs will be in season and there is nothing nicer than a fresh, nicely ripe purple fig, it’s juicy center is natures jam!

After yet another chat about why eating fruit is important. I came up with a cunning plan!…. Fruit boxes!…So I started to prepare my children fruit boxes.

Having my children eat relatively healthily is important to me and I know that as teenagers, my children may have lost a bit of the sense they were born with, but I also know hope that one day they will get it back….When the hormones have stopped clouding their judgement!

I have found that making up fruit boxes for my teenage children gets them eating more fruit.

By making up fruit boxes everyday, my children have no excuse not to eat more fruit.

Fruit Boxes…

I have long stopped making their sandwiches for school, that was a task I really didn’t like, so as soon as they were old enough they started making their own sandwiches for school. So for me to start making them a daily fruit box each, shows to them just how important it is for them to eat fruit.

In the morning I wash a variety of fruit and slice some melon and pop it into two boxes – one pink, one blue – I know a touch stereo typical, but at least they know who’s box is who’s, helping to avoid any arguments over who has eaten what. I put the boxes into the fridge and the children can help themselves throughout the day, whenever they fancy a nibble.

The only rule is that they have to eat the contents of the fruit box before they go to bed at night. And I am happy to report that it seems to have worked. For the past couple of weeks my children’s fruit intake has increased as they have been eating the fruit from their boxes.

I know that they are eating the fruit as:

  1. I hear them moaning about not liking some of the fruit and why do they have to eat that much fruit?
  2. I actually see them eating it!
  3. I also have photographic evidence.

Ideally…

They would be eat fruit by choice, but I have long discovered that we don’t live in an ideal world, so for now I am prepared to wash their fruit and pop it into boxes rather than having them not eat fruit.

It makes me happy knowing that they are eating more fruit and secretly I think they are happy not having to prepare their own fruit to eat.

Do your children enjoy eating fruit and if not how do you encourage them to do so? Feel free to share your stories in the comments below…

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Comments

  1. 3

    says

    Great idea – but how about more fruit in salads, as well as fruit and meat dishes? Sounds unpalatable just like that, but there are plenty of great dishes where such combinations work, and are “wolfed” by all age groups (teens are not the only ones who slack in the matter of not eating enough fruit!). Love pineapple and beef mixed with green salads!

    • 4

      says

      Hi Isobel, I do use fruit like apricots and pineapple in main meal sauces and add fruit to salads too, but I wanted to get my two into the habit of eating fruit on it’s own too. I want them to see a piece of fruit as a healthy snack rather than turning to the biscuit tin.

      Beef and pineapple in a salad does sound good though. I put chicken or pork with pineapple, but never thought of beef. It sounds like a salad I will be making in future!

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my post.

    • 6

      says

      Thank you Jen. Yesterday I went and stocked up on a few punnets of different fruit and oh my! the children looked horrified when I walked in the door. But joking apart they are now eating much more fruit than before and without any fuss either, so i would highly recommend giving it a go with your children too.

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