This post is about carrots, but it could have just as easily been about peas. Or watermelon.

Exploring food is so counterintuitive. Usually we focus on eating. And when we do get around to exploring, most of us, myself included, can only readily think about the obvious. You might think of touching a carrot peel, but smell it? Peas might evoke rolling, but playing float/sink? And watermelon. How about digging a hole down the center?

Exploring food away from the table is THE solution to expanding kids’ repertoire of acceptable foods.

Perhaps you’ve heard me say this once or twice! Three reasons:

  1. Eliminate pressure by eliminating any expectation of eating.
  2. Build up child’s database of food facts so more foods are known quantities.
  3. Exploration engages children’s natural curiosity because it is FUN.

Here are 42 ways to explore carrots.

If you can think of other ways, please share them in the comments.

  1. Describe the color, smell, feel, temperature, texture, taste.
  2. Compare color of 2 or 3 carrots.
  3. Roll a carrot on the table.
  4. Cut in half and roll.
  5. Cut in sticks and roll.
  6. Cut the in rounds and roll.
  7. Bend a thick carrot.
  8. Bend a thin carrot.
  9. Bend a baby carrot.
  10. Leave a carrot on the counter for a couple of days. What does it look like?
  11. Bend the carrot you have left on the counter for a couple of days.
  12. Put the “counter-carrot” in a glass of water for a day. Does it bend?
  13. Cut and bend the tip.
  14. Cut and bend the thick bottom.
  15. Scratch an itch with a carrot.
  16. Freeze a carrot and see if you can bite it.
  17. Freeze a carrot and lick it.
  18. Shred a carrot.
  19. Soak a carrot in vinegar. What happens?
  20. Dip a carrot in paint and create!
  21. Juice a carrot.
  22. Steam a carrot. Compare with raw.
  23. Drop a raw and a steamed carrot on the table and compare the sound each makes.
  24. Bake carrot fries. Pinch, roll, smash. Crunch.
  25. Puree carrots. Pick it up with tweezers, with a fork, with a spoon.
  26. Glaze carrots and stick them together.
  27. Use a vegetable peeler to create “noodles.”
  28. Make carrot cake.
  29. Shave, dice, round, julienne and leave whole. Now, make as many carrot animals as possible.
  30. Cook carrots 3 ways and determine which is sweetest, sharpest, crunchiest.
  31. Compare “mouth-feel” of rounds, slices, and shreds.”
  32. Play “sink or float.”
  33. Drizzle honey, ranch dressing, water on whole carrots, carrot sticks, “old,” fresh carrots. How fast does the drizzle drip?
  34. Taste the carrots with the drizzles from #33.
  35. Try to see through a thinly sliced carrot.
  36. Shake carrot slices in a jar. Now shake carrot sticks in a jar. Describe the way each sounds.
  37. Swirl carrot puree into yogurt.
  38. Examine the outside of a carrot. Peel it and examine the inside.
  39. Peel and make “sushi” rolls.
  40. Mix carrot juice with food coloring. Describe color changes. Predict flavor before tasting.
  41. Compare color, texture, aroma of carrot sticks to celery sticks.
  42. Eat a purple carrot, a white carrot and an orange carrot. Describe.

For more ways to explore, check out The Super Food Explorer Kit.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~