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The Solution: A Bowl of Fruit!

I’m sure many other moms will understand my challenge of getting my two teens to opt for fruit when snacking over other less healthy choices like cookies or ice cream.  I don’t mind them having the other stuff sometimes, but I’d like them to reach for some fruit at least half the time without me having to constantly remind them.  I found that many weeks I’d end up throwing out some of the fruit I had in my refrigerator produce drawer which had gone uneaten and was spoiled (of course I rarely threw out spoiled junk food!).  It was frustrating.

Just recently I read an article about how setting out a bowl of fruit increases consumption.  Hmmm …okay, I figured it was worth a try.  I have a center island in my kitchen so I chose a large glass bowl and at my weekly grocery store visit I selected a variety of produce I could leave out like pears, apples and bananas.  I washed them, put them in the bowl on the island and told the kids if they wanted a snack they should feel free to grab some fruit.  Much to my surprise the bowl was emptied before the end of the week!

After the first week I modified the amount of fruit I bought by just a bit so that it would last us throughout the entire week, but I found that my husband also took an apple here or there (he has to be careful about how much fruit he consumes as he’s Type 1 diabetic).  I also discovered that I had extra ice cream left over at the end of the week, which NEVER happens–amazing! I suppose it’s the whole “out of sight, out of mind” idea and when I had the fruit in the produce drawer the kids didn’t really think about it, but when I set it out they saw it and readily grabbed it for a snack.

Most challenges–well, almost no challenges are this simple in my house so I had to share this success with you.  If your kids are like mine give this idea a try.  If they’re younger you might even let them help you select which fruit you place in the bowl to increase their engagement.  Good luck–I hope it works for you!

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  1. This was great to read. I conducted a similar experiment a few years ago. I set out a fruit bowl in my previous workplace and invited my co-workers to have a banana or apple if they wanted. People were always grabbing something and giving me money to keep the bowl full. This is actually what prompted me to create the Goodie Monster: I wanted to come up with a way for the fruit bowl to scale…and I realized how powerful vending machines can be, if they’re filled with good stuff. The trick was then making “good” feel fun!

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