Get your children to eat more fruit

Fruit of the Week Challenge

featuring Handa’s Surprise (Walker paperbacks)by Eileen Browne

We all want our children to eat well but it can be hard work.  Sometimes children are simply reluctant to try something new, which can be so frustrating when you’ve planned, shopped for and prepared a new treat, only for them to take one look (let alone one bite) and turn their noses up at it. As fruit is super healthy and so handy for picnics and lunchbags it would be wonderful if children ate it happily: this is where the Fruit of the Week challenge comes in!

First of all you need to get inspired. Handa’s Surprise (Walker paperbacks)by Eileen Browne is about a girl called Handa who lives in Kenya. She packs a basket full of delicious fruits, including pineapple, mango and passion fruit, to take as a nice surprise for her friend Akeyo. On the way to Akeyo’s village several sneaky animals including a monkey and an elephant come and steal the fruit from on top of Handa’s head. When she finally arrives to see Akeyo, she discovers the basket isn’t quite the same as when she left and she’s the one who gets the surprise. It’s a good book to bring a multi-cultural aspect to your bookshelf and interesting for the children to compare the animals they see in their neighbourhood with the ones Handa meets. It also, of course, brings you on to talking about the different fruits mentioned.

So now for the eating! How about trying some of the fruits in the book? You could do this in one taste testing session, or try our ‘Fruit of the Week’ challenge.

You’ll need to make a chart with several column so you can record:

  • what the fruit is called
  • what it looks like outside and inside (my kids loved guessing what colour would be revealed when we sliced it open)
  • words to describe how it looks and how it smells
  • and a column for each child to draw a sad or happy face to show whether they liked it or not

Even children too young to do any writing can join in, adding the right colours for each fruit and drawing their own smiles or frowns. And you don’t have to be limited by the fruits mentioned in the book. We mixed in different varieties of melons (to try and catch them out on their colour predictions!) and some very unusal ones like dragon fruits too.

The children I’ve done this with really enjoyed it and our ‘Fruit of the Week’ became quite famous, with friends and family hearing all about it. The kids were eager to try the new fruits each week, and as it was more playful and away from a mealtime they were all keen to taste every new fruit .

So, why not give it a go!

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