WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – August is ‘Kids Eat Right’ month and for the Greater Wichita YMCA and the Health and Wellness Coalition that means introducing children to new, healthy foods.
“It’s a perfect time for it because kids are going back to school. It’s a great time to focus on getting kids to eat healthy when they are going back to school so they are getting the nutrition they need,” said Greater Wichita YMCA Healthy Eating Director Tammi Krier.
Krier said nutrition is vital for kids and extremely important for them to learn at a young age.
“Getting them adequate nutrition really helps them be able to focus, helps them with their academic performance, helps them with being able to be present in the classroom and paying attention to what is going on,” Krier said.
On Wednesday, Krier did a demonstration for KSN on how to introduce children to healthy foods.
“Getting kids to just try new fruits and vegetables and making it fun and interactive with them is one way to do that, so they are exposed to new foods throughout their life because if they are exposed to it more frequently they are more likely to try new things and that really helps set them up for success,” Krier said.
Krier first introduced mango to the group of kids which included Rylee, 4, Hailey, 5, and Kaitlyn, 7. Krier cut the mango into pieces, placed them on each girl’s plate and then had them smell and taste the fruit.
“It smells like a pear,” said Rylee.
“It’s good!” said Hailey.
“It’s good, but it wouldn’t be my favorite fruit,” said Kaitlyn.
Krier then added kiwi to the girls’ plates and asked them to describe the fruit to her.
“It kinda looks like a pear with seeds in it,” Kaitlyn said.
As the girls munched on the kiwi, Krier explained to them that they can also eat the kiwi’s skin.
“It’s got good fiber in it which is good for your belly in the inside,” Krier told the girls.
Rylee and Kaitlyn tried the skin, but both of them eventually spit it out. Krier said that’s normal and OK for kids not to enjoy every healthy snack they try.
“I don’t think you expect every kid to like every fruit and vegetable and that’s OK. The point is exposing them to new things and it can take someone 10 to 12 times to try something to realize they actually like it,” she said.
Finally, Krier introduced four different types of apples to the girls and asked if they could tell her which one was the most sour or sweet. Each of them had different answers, but all of them giggled while saying them. Krier said overall Wednesday’s introduction experiment was a success.
“One of them hadn’t had mangoes before so just getting her to try it, she doesn’t do that at home for on any given day of the week,” Krier said.
“I didn’t really know I was going to like it, but then it actually tasted very good,” Kaitlyn said.
Krier said there are many different ways to encourage kids to try healthy foods. She said it’s a good idea to get them involved and let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try while at the grocery store. She also said if a child doesn’t like a particular vegetable in its raw state, parents can try to give it to their kids in a steamed or baked state.