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How to Help Your Child Learn To Eat Cucumbers

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Jade had never eaten cucumbers. Her mom wanted to get veggies into Jade’s diet, so she added cucumbers to Jade’s turkey wrap for lunch. At lunch, Jade took a huge bite and immediately spit out her food because of the unfamiliar texture. Jade’s mom pleaded with her, “Just try one more bite.” But Jade refused. 

We know that feeding kids can be tricky and even defeating at times. It is our goal to help you end those mealtime battles and learn how to encourage your fussy eater to try new foods. Here’s our guide to help you teach kids to eat cucumbers. You’ll learn: 

Related: Join BetterBites – the best selling course for the families of picky eaters

How to Serve Cucumbers to Picky Eaters

Children may need to be exposed to cucumbers many times to become familiar with them. As a parent or caretaker, you can try to promote positive associations of the food for your little ones. When serving cucumbers to kids, we recommend not pressuring children to eat them. Remember Jade’s situation. She had never experienced the texture of cucumbers and was taken aback by the unfamiliar food in her lunch. When her mom pressured her by pleading with her to try it, Jade ultimately refused, as many children would. 

Parents may unintentionally place pressure on a child to eat in many different ways. Here are a few examples:

“Just try one more bite.”

“You have to eat it or you can’t go out to play.”

“You will make mom very happy if you try a bite.”

If you avoid pressuring your child, they can learn to like a new food at their own pace.

Related: Get our picky eater guide – From Stress to Success: 4 Ways to Help Your Child Eat Better without Losing Your Mind

The Benefits of Cucumbers for Kids

Cucumbers, while often thought of as vegetables, are actually fruits. They come in different varieties, including slicing, pickling and seedless. Cucumbers are beneficial for kids because they contain a great deal of water, which helps kids stay hydrated. It also helps keep body temperature stable and prevent constipation. 

Cucumbers have vitamin K, which the body uses to clot blood to stop bleeding. They also contain calcium, iron and vitamin B.

It’s no wonder Jade’s mom wanted her daughter to try cucumbers!

Related: Need recipes with cucumbers? Real Easy Weekdays: The Meal Plan for Busy Families

How To Talk About Cucumbers to Help Your Child Try Them

Picky eaters often use negative language when speaking about foods they don’t like. “Yuck!” “I don’t want to eat that!” “That’s slimy.” This negative language reinforces their picky behaviors and prevents them from trying new foods.

The good news is you can give them new words to use that are neutral. They are neither positive nor negative. 

If you use positive words to describe a food, a picky eater may think you are trying to trick them into eating it. And if you use negative words, your picky eater will certainly not want to eat it. Neutral words will help your child understand that they may learn to like a new food when they are ready.

Unfortunately, talking about food differently won’t make your child want to try cucumbers tomorrow. But this is an important part of our strategy to help get your child to like cucumbers in the long run. 

Here are some words you can use to describe cucumber to your selective eater: 

  • Green 
  • Fruit
  • Crisp
  • Fresh
  • Plump
  • Juicy
  • Tender
  • Refreshing
  • Medium sound (or crunchy)

Next time, Jade’s mom could say, “Cucumbers are crunchy. Cucumbers are also green!”

How to Talk to Kids About What Cucumber Does in Their Bodies

Trying new foods can be unpleasant for your child. Jade was pressured to eat cucumbers, and didn’t eat any of her lunch. Instead, we can talk about what food does in the body. 

Sharing facts and information with your child can help them connect the food to how it helps their body. This is another strategy to help your child learn and consider trying a new food. 

 When talking to your child about cucumbers, focus on characteristics of the food. 

Age 0-3: Cucumbers are fruits that are filled with water.  

Age 3-5: Cucumbers have so much water. They help us not feel thirsty after we play. 

Age 6-11: Cucumbers are 96% water. They help you stay hydrated while you play because humans are made up of 60% water. If your body is hydrated it has all the water it needs so you can play.

Age 12-18: Cucumbers, and other water-filled fruits, can provide as much as 40% of the water we need to stay hydrated and keep our body temperature stable. 

Cucumber Food Play Activity

Picky eating in children can be a game of patience and repetition. A child may sometimes feel comfortable touching, seeing or smelling a particular food, and other times they may not want to try it. A no-pressure experience, such as a food play activity, can allow a picky eater to become more familiar with the foreign food and less fearful of it.

Food activities also desensitize the body’s sensory system. By “desensitize,” we mean that your child’s body becomes more used to the food. When your child’s body is used to the food, they can learn to taste it. They just may learn to like it as well.

This is just one example of a cucumber activity. If you need more ideas for food activities, or want them broken down by age and learning stage, you may find our food activities guide helpful: Food Play Every Day.

In this activity, you and your child are going to create a cucumber character. Be sure to mention that this food activity is for having fun together. If your child is feeling nervous, reassure them that there is no pressure for them to play if they don’t want to. Your child may even feel more comfortable watching you create your own character before they try it themselves.

Cucumber Characters 

Materials

Steps

  1. Make up a cucumber character, including giving them a name, a voice, a personality, favorite activity, etc.
  2. Using the construction paper, draw eyes, ears, nose, hands, feet and hair for your cucumber character.
  3. Cut out the shapes with the scissors and glue them onto the cucumber.
  4. Take turns with your child and tell stories with your cucumber character.

Thanks for Being 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. 

Author

Lauryn Woodruff

Reviewers

Jennifer Anderson, MSPH, RDN

Alli Delozier, PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Laura Petix, M.S., OTR/L

Erinn Jacobi, M.S., OTR/L

Stefanie Kain, B.S., M.Ed

References

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283006

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-cucumber

https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn2009111.epdf?sharing_token=ZWwT551PKWrMk7yczwJjhNRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0NSKECIXCAYWSKRsuKDtEqzqNIoR-7yJnIxbPdosECYLo_1iRNhvfeJUvXtLYEpWRU-4zzYZ6glnTlC5lMcdJtRHQ94mpObhTZAyiSNBdoM4A%3D%3D

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/324653/nutrients

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0367326X12002791?via%3Dihub

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5726210/

Lauryn Woodruff

Lauryn Woodruff is the Nutrition Information Specialist at Kids Eat in Color. She creates content that provides helpful nutrition information for picky eaters. Lauryn has a BS in Nutrition and Food Science and is completing her Dietetic Internship at Virginia Tech University. She enjoys cooking, trying new foods, and being outdoors!

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