Three years ago, I began using “Fruit first!” as a motto with my children to encourage them to choose produce before anything else in the morning. To help them with this choice, I sometimes even greeted them first thing in the morning with a variety of fruits to nibble on or to squeeze the juice out of.
Likewise, I started the 2013 calendar year off with an effort to instill a “Raw Foods First” habit for myself – reaching for raw nuts, seeds, fruit or veggies first thing in the morning.
Both of these initiatives worked for us for a time.
However, somehow, towards the end of last month, I noticed that our healthy habits had slipped. We were reaching less and less consistently for Produce Power first thing in the morning.
That’s not good. I thought to myself. Time to make it better!
So, just before September began, I shared my observation with the kids and asked them what they thought would help us all focus on Produce Power first thing each morning.
Luke’s suggestion was, “First we eat all the starch in the house, then all we’ll have left is the protein...then the produce... then we eat our whole house. Every wire. Every battery. Every chair. Every crumb. Every ant. Every mouse. Every shelf. Every book. Every tile. Every pot. Every pan. Each other...” Yep. That’s my Luke. My carb-(and apparently non-food-item-) loving boy with a great imagination who gets more and more ridiculous with every giggle he is able to elicit from his younger siblings.
Jack of course burst forth with many giggles as Luke went on and on, and, then, dovetailed his own suggestion on Luke’s, saying, “Eat the ceiling and the couch... and the tree....and a mouse.... and a squirrel ... and a chipmunk...” (Oh, if only the mimicking could be the opposite way around, with big brother modeling after little brother in eating habits. Then, my entire Produce Power campaign would be a non-issue since Jack happily chooses more fruits and veggies than either of his siblings ever do!)
Lucky for me, Nina’s suggestion was far more practical and succinct than either of her brothers’ had been: “Buy fruits that we like.”
That was a baby step this mama could handle. Done and then some!
The children and I created a list of fruits that the kids like. I went out an purchased a variety of them. The kids enjoyed strawberries and Asian pears first thing the next morning and we’ve been going strong ever since, with at least a little bit of fruit each day before the rest of breakfast.
Then, because the turning of the calendar page to September has had me in a mode focused on consciously encouraging independence and learning for my kiddoes, I took things a step further: I made some Produce Power (Fruit) cards for us, which I am sharing here in case anyone would like to use them for pocket chart menus, encouraging healthy eating or early language lessons with their children.
On the cards are fruits my children favor as well as some that I am working on getting them to accept. If any of your children’s favorite fruits are not included and you would like me to make additional cards, just list the fruits in the comments and, when there are eight of them, I will make an additional page to share.
What baby steps towards better breakfasts are you taking this month?
This post is being shared at Living Montessori Now's Montessori Monday. Check out other helpful Montessori ideas there.