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Looking for a fun activity that can get your kids to try new fruits and vegetables? You’re in the right place! Try some of these exotic fruits & vegetables; you might discover something new that you didn’t know you liked.
Exotic Fruits & Vegetables for Kids
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of getting kids to try new fruits and vegetables. So when I connected with Dole Fruits, who collaborated with Pixar Animation Studios on an initiative with a focus of “Fruits and Vegetables Don’t Have to be Scary,” based on the Disney and Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. movie (one of my all-time favorite Pixar movies), this was a no-brainer. I mean, two of my favorite things … getting kids to eat healthy AND a Disney collaboration. As a fan of all-things Disney (theme parks, cruises, movies and music), I love this tie-in. So, I wanted to present this my way, in a way that I’d like to present it to kids: with a platter.
Finger food platters are a staple in our house. I find that offering platters gives visual appeal, but it also gives kids choices. Instead of showing one piece of produce (think kiwi or even something that may be foreign like a star fruit), arrange them together on a platter to show variety of shape, texture and color. Kids will gravitate to which ones appeal to them, and this is a great way to get them to try something new.
Exotic fruits & vegetables
Exotic fruits & vegetables that I found locally and was able to use:
- DOLE® Plantains
- Star fruit
- Pepino melon
- Horned Fruit
- DOLE® Kiwi
- Dragon Fruit
- DOLE® Pineapple
- Dragon fruit
- DOLE® Rainbow carrots
Keep in mind that this isn’t a complete list by any means. The goal is to get the kids to try something different than the tried and true – carrots, apples, bananas, etc. By presenting “exotic” fruits and vegetables, you are opening their mind to new ideas, getting them to try new foods, and also offering different vitamins and minerals.
Ways to get kids to try new fruits and vegetables
While children differ and some may be pickier then others, it’s important to try new things to get kids to eat different fruits and vegetables. Here are seven suggestions on how to get kids to try new fruits & veggies:
- Prepare them differently. While they may turn their noses up at a raw vegetable, perhaps steaming, baking or roasting will produce a different reaction. Even serving them hot or cold can turn some noses up.
- Cut them differently. Sounds elementary, but my kids love when I cut carrots into rounds. Who knew?! I love to cut them up as sticks, but they like them in circles. Try peeling vegetables such as cucumber and even basics like apples if they initially get the thumbs down.
- Make a rainbow. My kids went crazy for this rainbow platter. Honestly, just the colors alone were appealing – I’m sure I could’ve snuck something else in there and not heard any complaints!
- Place them on a platter. As mentioned above, making a platter is a great way to go. Here are tips on how to get started.
- Let them eat dip. Because don’t things taste better with dip?! Try hummus, guacamole, a tasty ranch, or even this simple honey-yogurt dip included below.
- Have a taste test. Make a game out of it. Do it blindfolded or not. Smell, touch, then take a little taste of each. If you make it a game vs. forcing it, kids are more apt to try it.
- Put them in a recipe. I’m not generally a fan of hiding foods, but this is a good last resort. I hosted a little kids cooking camp last year, and one of the kids was SUPER picky – like no green foods whatsoever. We made smoothies and she had THREE servings. Little did she know that there was spinach within! Studies have shown that if you keep exposing your tastebuds to foods, they will quickly adapt to them.
Fruits & vegetables for kids
This platter was SUCH a fun way for us to ALL try some new exotic fruits and vegetables. No more “produce paranoia!” I personally had never tried a rambutan or even star fruit. And eggplant is something that I love, but my kids didn’t generally. They were all fans of how I made the roasted eggplant and okra (coated with avocado oil + salt and roasted for 40 minutes, turning a few times within).
I’m a big fan of adding dips to platters because many people like to dip their veggies. I added guacamole and this simple honey yogurt dip. (To make, simply mix plain yogurt with honey.) Adding cinnamon is optional. My kids liked trying to dip the fruits in this and also trying them plain. The jimaca and rainbow carrots were tasty with the guacamole!
Some fun “not so scary” recipes from Dole, inspired by characters from Disney and Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University: