The toddler years are a key time to influence your little one’s diet, and establish lifelong healthy eating habits and a love of food. Yet, as your baby grows into a toddler, it’s a time of rapid change and extraordinary development.  And just when you think you know what your toddler likes to eat, and you are confident they are eating a healthy, balanced diet, your little one’s growing independence with food means they might take matters into their own hands – perhaps refusing to eat at mealtimes, or becoming fussy about food!

A new #LoveGoodFood campaign from Organix, with the help of children’s food expert Lucy Thomas, is designed to help little ones love good food and tuck into their fruit and veg in these early years, so they grow up to be healthy, little food explorers.

Lucy, who runs fun workshops encouraging children to love fruit and vegetables, says, “It can be challenging for parents to get their little ones to eat fruit and veg, however, toddlers are naturally curious about the world around them so helping them learn about the colours, the funny shapes, smells and textures of a variety of fruit and vegetables in a fun environment and away from mealtime can really help get them excited about food.

 “As parents we tend to think about food as just eating but we forget the simple pleasure that children can get from peeling their own banana, enjoying how it feels to pull down each piece of skin.”

F&V Group tomatoesLucy suggests trying these fun ideas at home to help inspire your little one to explore and enjoy their fruit and veggies: 

  1. Encourage a wider interest in food, without asking them to eat or taste anything. Get them to smell, kiss, lick or crunch.  You can show your child how to smell strawberries and lick one to feel the bumpiness of the seeds on the outside.
  2. Give them lots of opportunities to touch and handle fresh fruit and vegetables, whether out shopping, at home cooking or even growing food. This will help them be more relaxed and interested in food.
  3. Get a little messy – let your little one squash a tomato or squeeze an orange while you are cooking. If they feel comfortable handling a food they are more likely to want to eat it.
  4. Let your child explore different textures of food by juicing, blending, grating or mashing foods with your help.
  5. Explore vegetables raw as well as cooked, it’s a great way to overcome a dislike of a vegetable. For example, small crunchy florets of cauliflower for dipping are delicious – and taste very different to cooked cauliflower.

You’ll find lots more practical advice and tip on the Organix website including some lovely Halloween recipes to enjoy this time of year.

You can see how Lucy encourages a group of toddlers to explore, enjoy and share the wonderful world of fruit and vegetables, from broccoli to bananas, through play, rhymes, song and storytelling here #lovegoodfood