It is common for parents to have a hard time getting their children to eat vegetables, but often they have an easier time getting them to eat fruits. This problem has led to numerous food bloggers, parenting bloggers, health food and parenting magazines, and even celebrity cookbook authors to come up with creative ways to either hide the veggies in their children’s meals, or make them look like cartoon characters, what have you.
What if you are a parent with the reverse of this problem?
Take me, for example. My four year old daughter will eat most healthy foods and even some vegetables with no problem. Fruit, however, literally makes her gag. It wasn’t always this way. When she ate baby food she had no problem eating pureed fruits along with vegetables, but once she was out of the baby food stage and we tried giving her bits of different fruits, it was over. She was fine eating apple sauce, yogurt with pureed fruit in it, fruit juices, etc. but actual whole fruit for some reason freaks her out.
Today we had a strawberry picking field trip with my daughter’s preschool. I was hoping that this would be a great opportunity to help get her excited about eating strawberries since she would be the one picking them out and watching her friends eat them. She did a great job finding ripe berries that were bug-free and not smushed, and after looking around at a hayride full of preschoolers with berry-stained faces making yummy noises, she agreed to try one. She held it at arm’s length, made a face that was a combination of fear and disgust, and reluctantly brought it to her mouth. After literally five minutes of chewing and swallowing the berry, making the face the whole time, she proclaimed that she liked it. I made a big deal and gushed over how proud I was of her for trying the strawberry, and asked her if she’d like another one. She replied “no fanks, maybe tomorrow.”
Super. So now I have two containers of fresh, organic berries.
My other daughter likes berries, but strawberries are very fragile and delicate and do not keep for too long in the refrigerator. There is no way all of them will get eaten by the berry-eating members of our family before they go bad.
My first thought was that I could freeze them, and then make them into a fruit smoothie or something later on. Then a light switch went on in my head and I remembered a recipe I saw a few months ago in Everyday Food magazine about using pureed fruit to make popsicles. Aha! Like most children, my daughter will never turn down a popsicle. I don’t buy them often, because even the all natural ones usually have added sugar, so popsicles are considered special treats in our house.
Awhile back, my mom had given me a mold for making popsicles in the freezer, which we had used for fruit juice and yogurt pops, but now I can use them for pureed strawberry pops. So I pureed the strawberries and tasted it, and realized that the berries were so naturally sweet, I wouldn’t need to add any extra sugar. I even decided to get fancy and swirl some vanilla yogurt into a couple of them (I used Brown Cow).
My daughter absolutely loved her strawberry popsicle, and even asked for more. I was sure to tell her I made them from the strawberries that she picked, and she simply beamed. So we will try the popsicles again with different fruits and combinations and really have fun with it.
And who says strawberry popsicles are just for kids?
Berries are some of the healthiest fruits you can eat, because despite their sweetness, they are naturally low in sugar. They are also low in calories, and high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Our bodies need these nutrients to help us maintain a healthy body weight, give us energy throughout the day, maintain proper blood glucose levels, keep the digestive system functioning well, fight inflammation and free radicals, and stave off disease. Strawberries, in particular, have been shown in studies to help prevent certain illnesses and health concerns such as cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers.
The benefits of strawberries will also be visible on the skin, since the skin is a window into the body’s overall health. People who have healthy bodies on the inside are almost always rewarded with glowing skin on the outside.