When our preschoolers were babies, we gave them mashed peas. When they were toddlers, we gave them cubed carrots. Now, they don’t want mashed peas and cubed carrots, but the success of peas and carrots can remind us they do need variety from shape and color to taste and texture.
Peas and carrots have different colors. Visual differentiation is important for a preschooler. If the food looks brown and gooey, they won’t even try it. Remember the color variety of the orange carrots and bright green peas when choosing foods for your child. Different colors can create a visually exciting meal and a fun way to learn colors.
Peas and carrots have different shapes. Your toddler increased their motor skills by fingering the small cubes and little round peas on their plate. For your preschooler, keep incorporating shapes. A square sandwich is square. But cutting the sandwich into the shape of a star or heart is an adventure. make a lunch using only one shape. A circle meal can have meatballs and melon balls and blueberries. Try a triangle meal with a quesadilla cut in a triangle, Pita chips, and wedges of cantaloupe or apple. Cut a cucumber down three sides then slice to create triangle shaped pieces. If your child is learning shapes, use a variety and have your child identify them while eating.
Babies seemed content to eat an entire jar of mashed peas and carrots without variety. But your child’s tastes are maturing. Add sweet fruit on the side of a salty hot dog or try sweet and sour sauce as a dip for veggie sticks and nuggets.
Carrots and peas should have a different texture. When mashed or blanched, they become the same texture. But now your child is aware of those textures. Make sure to include a variety in their lunch. PB&J is a squishy food. Adding a banana might be a tasty addition, but it is the same texture. Instead, add carrot sticks, chips, snow peas, or a rice cake.
No more mashed carrots and peas, your preschooler is ready for baby carrots and snap peas. So, the next time you are creating a new lunch for your little one, remember your Peas and Carrots.
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