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The best part of Tanya’s week is always babysitting little Louise. For this visit, Tanya will take Louise to a farm. Boysenberries are in season, and Louise absolutely loves picking fruit! Tanya took the opportunity to introduce Louise to a new one…
When they arrive on the farm, happiness radiates in the new summer air. Louise eagerly runs to help fill their basket.
Everything is going great! Until Louise pops a berry in her mouth, that is. She grimaces and spits out the remains. “Ugh, this feels so weird in my mouth! It’s so icky!”
In hopes of saving the experience, Tanya attempts to coerce Louise to try another, “Maybe you got a sour one! Just give another one a try. Boysenberries are healthy! I know you will love them.”
Louise’s eyes start to water, and she begins to throw a tantrum, “I don’t want berries! I hate berries! I want to go home!”
We know that feeding kids can be so tricky, and that is exactly why we want to help you get out of these food battles. Reversing picky eating is a long-term process, and we’re here to help you through it! Here’s our guide to help you teach your child to eat boysenberries. You’ll learn:
- The benefits of boysenberries for kids
- How to serve boysenberries to picky eaters
- How to talk about boysenberries to help your child try them
- How to help your child understand what boysenberries do in their body
- A food activity that will help your picky eater learn to be more comfortable with boysenberries
The Benefits of Boysenberries for Kids
Boysenberries are tiny but mighty! They are full of nutrients such as manganese. One cup of boysenberries (about 6 or 7 average size berries) can provide 31-52% of your daily requirement for manganese. Manganese is important for helping our body form strong bones and maintain brain function.
Along with manganese, boysenberries are also packed with fiber. Fiber works hand and hand with glucose and can help your child maintain consistent energy levels throughout the day.
When we consider all of this, it’s honestly not a surprise why Tanya thought introducing boysenberries to Louise would be a good idea!
How to Serve Boysenberries to Picky Eaters
If you’re introducing boysenberries to selective kids and toddlers, you’ll want to vary the way you present them as often as possible. This helps prevent fussy eaters from getting stuck in a rut. Boysenberries, like any berries, can be served to kids on their own, in a fruit salad, blended into a smoothie, or as a topping to yogurt and oatmeal. They can also be made into jam and baked into pies.
Also, if your picky eater refuses to eat boysenberries, you can also try serving it in a micro portion. A micro portion is a small, bite-sized piece of food. Micro portions can be less intimidating than adult-sized portions to kids and toddlers. Another benefit of micro portions is that they can help cut down on food waste. A good first step could be offering your child a piece of boysenberries about the size of your fingernail.
In addition to micro portions, consider serving deconstructed meals. Deconstructed meals are another useful tool in which you serve the elements of a mixed dish separately. This lets your picky eater see and understand what the meal is composed of. For instance, if you were serving a boysenberry parfait with yogurt and granola, you could choose to serve your picky eater the yogurt plain with the boysenberries and granola on the side.
Finally, we recommend that you do not pressure a child to eat. Think back to Tanya’s situation. She tried to make Louise eat boysenberries. Once Louise felt that pressure, she decided eating a boysenberry would be the last thing to happen. Without the pressure, Louise may have still been interested in continuing to pick boysenberries with Tanya.
Pressuring a child to eat can look like many things. Here are some examples of what pressure can sound like:
“Maybe you got a sour one! Just give another one a try. Boysenberries are healthy! I know you will love them!”
“You used to love them before! What happened? Just take a bite.”
“You have to eat or you won’t get dessert.”
Removing pressure from mealtimes can be a fantastic way to help your child learn to like a new food at their own pace.
Choking prevention information (if applicable: nuts, carrots, grapes, etc) general guidelines
1️⃣Cut in 1/8s (and grind seeds & nuts) for age 1. Think half a pinky finger size.⠀
2️⃣Quarter (and smash seeds & nuts) for age 2⠀
3️⃣Halve (or sliver nut pieces) for age 3⠀
4️⃣Most kids are fine to eat unmodified food at or after age 4⠀
How to Talk About Boysenberries to Help Your Child Try Them
Picky kids often use negative language when talking about food. “This is disgusting!” “This tastes weird!” “That’s icky!” This negative language can actually reinforce their picky mindset and make it more difficult for them to learn to try a new food.
The good news? Teaching children new words to use when describing foods can help! We can do this through modeling a wide range of neutral words when speaking about foods or meals.
We want to try and be wary of positive language as well as negative language. If you use positive words, a picky eater may think you are trying to trick them into eating something. Neutral words help your child understand that they could learn to like a food in the future.
It’s good to remember patience is vital, and every child operates at their own pace. Talking about food differently probably won’t make your child try boysenberries tomorrow. But it is an important part of the journey to help you get your child to eat boysenberries in the long run.
Here are some words you can use to describe boysenberries to your selective eater:
- Dark blue
- Teeny, tiny grape bunches
There are some great ways to talk neutrally about boysenberries. For example, Tanya can try saying, “Boysenberries are kind of like teeny, tiny grape bunches. Do you remember the grape picking we did last month? Boysenberries can also be sweet or sour.”
How to Help Your Child Understand What Boysenberries Do in Their Body
How we talk about food with any kid can make it harder or easier for them to try something new. When talking about food, we want to share information that a child can understand. For example, addressing how berries can be unpredictable (some sweet, some sour) could help Louise understand the possibility of flavors. We also want to help children to make the connection that food does something in their bodies.
Here are some helpful phrases you can use to explain boysenberries to kids. You can come up with your own as well!
Age 0-3: Boysenberries can help your bones stay strong!
Age 3-5: Boysenberries are tiny and look like a small bunch of grapes! Did you know they help your brain work super fast and grow strong bones?
Age 6-11: Boysenberries contain manganese. Something super cool about manganese is that it helps keep your brain healthy and helps your bones stay strong!
Age 12-18: Boysenberries are a great source of manganese. Manganese can help your brain function properly. It also helps our body form strong bones.
Boysenberries Food Activity
Food play can help kids and toddlers learn to try boysenberries. When kids look at, touch, smell, and eventually taste a new food, they may be learning to like it.
Food activities also desensitize the body’s sensory system. When a sense is new to the brain, the brain may automatically perceive it as a danger and it may trigger the fight or flight system. “Desensitize” means that your child’s body becomes more used to the food. Then, when your child is with the food, it doesn’t seem so smelly, so slimy, or so sour to them, because they are used to it. When your child’s body and brain are used to the food, your child can learn to taste it. They may even learn to like it as well.
Food activities can be as simple as picking berries from your garden. They can also be more fun and exciting if you want to put more time into them.
Boysenberries activities aren’t going to make your child learn to like boysenberries overnight. This is a process that may take a lot of time. They may have to go through many stages of interacting with boysenberries, including looking at them, smelling them, tasting them and touching them. Start small with looking and smelling activities for extremely picky kids and work up to more in depth activities for touching and tasting.
Here is an example of a boysenberries activity for kids. If you need more food activity ideas broken down by age of child (0 to 10-years-old) and stage of learning to like new foods, you may enjoy our food activities guide: Food Play Every Day: 101+ Food Activities for Kids.
Age group: 5-13
- 18 berries (9 boysenberries and 9 berries of any other choice)
- 1 sheet of paper
- Pen or pencil
- 1 bowl
- Place washed berries in the bowl.
- With drawing utensils of your choice, have your child help you draw a 3×3 squared sheet (tic-tac-toe board) on a sheet of paper.
- Take turns closing your eyes and picking berries from the bowl to place on the sheet.
- The first person to get to 3 matching berries in a row wins!
Modification for ages 2-5: Instead of tic-tac-toe, simply choose two types of berries and turn this into a simple sorting game!
Thanks for being a part of our community that’s teaching kids to eat more foods!
About Kids Eat in Color
Kids Eat in Color gives parents the tools they need to teach their kids to eat veggies and try foods without a battle! From introducing new foods to a picky eater, to reducing meal-time stress, to taking off some of the burdens of meal planning, shopping, and cooking, we are here for parents.
Johane Filemon, MS, RDN, CLT
Alli Delozier, PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Laura Petix, M.S., OTR/L
Erinn Jacobi, M.S., OTR/L
Stefanie Kain, B.S., M.Ed
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