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The Mumsnet way to 5-a-day

SunshineAs every parent knows, five (fruit & veg) into one (determined small person) doesn't necessarily go. So we asked for your top tips on how you manage to get your child to scoff their five-a-day. Master criminals would blush at Mumsnetters' tactics – subterfuge, disguise, bribery and downright lying. But needs must until they're cooking for themselves…

Blend, blend, blend

  • Steam and blend broccoli and add it to pesto. DD has eaten pounds of the stuff without realising! Littlefish
  • Vegetable soups and pasta sauce are great for 'hiding' lots of different types of veg that they wouldn't normally eat. llynnnn
  • DS is very fond of smoothies, and especially favours a dark green one with spinach and broccoli in it which he calls green gloop. CMOTDibbler
  • Milkshakes are good in hot weather: blend some soft fruit (banana, berries, mango all good), some milk, some vanilla ice cream if you are feeling generous, blend all together with few ice cubes, drink with straws. stainlesssteelcat
  • I do ice lollies made from fresh squeezed fruit juice. The simplest one is just freezing the juice of squeezed oranges but you can use any sqeezed or pureed fruit. EffinNell

Tall tales and tricks

  • Make a story (Jack and the Beanstalk, The Three Bears etc) with integrated snack, such as beans or porridge. inmysparetime
  • No, DS, they're not just normal peas - they're Incredible Hulk peas. Salad is Shrek leaves. Kidney beans are what Doctor Who eats as he has no toilet on the TARDIS (don't ask, DH came up with that one). As for potatoes, we just all yell 'Potatooooo' in a Keith Lemon stylee and everyone wins. Wobblyweeble82
    "Never underestimate the value of a misshapen vegetable. One of my children tried parsnip after years of resisting because we dug one up that looked like a pair of legs." ShatnersBassoon
  • "I bet you can't eat five of those carrot (or whatever) sticks!" Works every time! ohnoanotherone
  • We do blind tastings - both kids get blindfolded and taste new things and the eldest is not allowed to say what it is! I only ever put two new foods, which I know youngest would like, but I have to promise there won't be anything horrid. He will now eat melon, grapes and strawberries as a result! dollytwat
  • Rationing veg makes kids think it's something special. I have had a class full of kids fighting over who gets to eat the next quarter of a broad bean (raw!) as I marketed it well "oh, it's really special, I only have ten beans, there won't be enough for one each, so some of you might miss out…" inmysparetime
  • Let them "hold" the cucumber/carrots/blueberries in the car on the way home from the shops. They will be demolished before you can get them home. Queefersutherland
  • Let them eat in an unexpected way... DS will eat a whole cucumber just biting off chunks of like a banana and likes mashed beetroot and carrot (monster mash anyone?!) jugglingmug

Small is beautiful

  • For some reason, children always eat more fruit if you first chop it up, vary it a bit (eg blueberries with peach) and put it on a nice plate for them. sickofsocalledexperts
  • Mini versions of things seem to go down better than full size - baby tomatoes are especially popular because they have the bonus of sometimes squirting pips all over someone else. Stainlesssteelcat

Diverting DIY

  • My two love peas in the pod - it's the novelty of opening them. They guzzle them down and it keeps them occupied for ages. trixymalixy
  • Take them to the market and give them £1 to buy as much fruit as they can, or challenge them to find a fruit they've never tried before. jugglingmug
  • An apple corer and cutter as a present for my four-year-old means that an apple is now a treat. missorinoco
  • Growing our own, even just in pots, has meant DD has tried things previously refused. We have an allotment and she just browses for things that are ready to eat and chomps away. Beamur
  • "Let them help with the preparation. DD1 only likes mushrooms that she's chopped herself." jugglingmug
    I took my DD out to a 'pick your own' fruit farm place, and spent the afternoon filling up our buckets with gorgeous summer-scented strawberries. She was so proud of all the strawberries we'd collected, she couldn't help trying a few on the way home and she's been much better at trying new types of fruit since. Maybe I should try the same trick with broccoli... thelollipoplady
  • Chop up cucumber, carrots and celery. Put it on the table at meal times and allow to serve themselves. missorinoco
  • I have a food dehydrator and fruit and even some veg, like parsnips and sweet potatoes, go in to make fruit and veg 'crisps' which are very popular with our lot. It's a great way to get them to scoff more good stuff and think they are getting a treat. whomovedmychocolate

And finally…

  • Don't make a big deal out of it. So they don't eat all the veg on their plate today - it's not the end of the world. They'll make up for it tomorrow. And if they say they don't like something, don't force them to sit in front of a congealing plate of it for three hours when they are six years old. There is a very high chance that at nearly 30 they will absolutely refuse to even try anything with that veg in it. <not bitter> Kveta


Last updated: over 3 years ago