Let Go of My Mango...

I admit it, I am still a fairly, picky eater.  But as a child, I could have starved to death had it not been for cereal, except in the summertime. In the summer, I became a fruit fanatic and still believe it is truly nature's candy.   I will even go so far to say, "Mango is proof there's a God". (No way did something that tastes-like-perfume-smells, happen randomly.)

I think my love of fruit was instilled in me by my mother.  She may have even tricked me into loving it.  My sibs and I all grew up in Colorado, where there are definitely four seasons.  Summer was nothing short of a treat, and that's how my mom viewed summer fruit-- as a treat sweet enough for dessert.  We bought fruit only when it was in-season.  None of this "Strawberries in January" or Peaches in March" stuff.  If you did find out-of-season fruit in the grocery store, it was crazy expensive and generally, not very good.  So, if you couldn't pick it, you didn't buy it either.  (Same for corn-on-the-cob, which if you've ever tasted Olathe corn, you know it's as sweet as fruit, but I digress.) 

My mom had a way of making me believe ripened bing cherries, sweet strawberries, and succulent grapes tasted better than chocolate cake or popsicles.  She got me excited about the prospect of eating fruit.  I looked forward to summer as much for its fruit, as I did for its freedom of school.

So now, I try to do the same for my daughter.  Strawberry, blackberry and cherry picking are fun outings we look forward to in the summer.  We head to the farmer's markets, never passing up the bright berries.  I can't say she loves all fruit, but she's getting there.  As a toddler, she would only eat bananas.  She loved to pick the strawberries, but every single one went into the basket, while the other kids all had fruit juice-stained faces.  And then one day it happened, she asked if we could buy some strawberries!  I knew I was rubbing off.

I think fruits are as important as vegetables in the diet.  A few years ago, I read that some parents should shoot for a balanced "weekly" diet of fruits and veggies when kids are young.  It's more realistic than a daily goal if you have a picky eater.  My pediatrician agreed that is a good way to look at it until their tastebuds start to develop.  No sense beating yourself up because your 4-year-old would rather have Goldfish than a Golden Delicious.
But, an amazing thing happens when you fawn over the juiciness of a plum, the sweetness of a raspberry-- Ohh and ahh over a perfectly brilliant pint of blueberries.  Eventually, they catch on!

"One bite of mango for you... two for mommy..."

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