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Key Points for Safe Fruits and Veggies

Key Points for Safe Fruits and Veggies

One of the best things we can do for children in their early years is to offer them a variety of foods that they can learn to eat and enjoy. However, it can be overwhelming and even scary to offer foods if we aren’t sure children have developed the skills to eat them safely. Luckily, it is possible to offer foods like fresh fruits and vegetables to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers when they are prepared safely and always offered with adult supervision.

  • Always sit and watch babies and young children at mealtime to make sure they do not choke.
    • Eating with children is a wonderful way to do this. Sit at the table with toddlers and preschoolers or face your baby’s high chair while you eat the same food or something similar. They will learn from watching you while you make sure that everyone is enjoying the food safely.
  • Prepare foods to the right shape, size, and texture.
    • For babies, cook or steam hard fruits and vegetables (like carrots and apples) until they are soft. 
    • Remove seeds, pits, tough skins, and peels from fruits and vegetables. 
  • Cut foods into small pieces no larger than ½ inch or in short thin slices or strips.
    • Grapes and other small, round foods often need to be cut in quarters before offered to children.
  • Avoid serving small, sticky, or hard foods that are difficult to chew or mash with gums.
    • Frozen foods like berries, chunks of pineapple, or similar foods can be too hard and too big for young children to manage. Make sure they are thawed and cut to the right size before offering to children.
    • Foods like popcorn and pumpkin seeds should not be offered to babies or young children.

Every child develops differently and some may be able to eat more challenging foods sooner than others. Most children will learn to chew and eat these foods safely by age 4. 

Is there an AZ Health Zone recipe that you’ve enjoyed with your little eater? If there is, please remember to give it a star rating so we know how much you liked it!