They skipped a line in the Rainbow song. For a much more "civilized" version, check out the original song on the Today I Ate a Rainbow website.
I have to admit, I didn't really think this chart would work that well. My son has refused to eat any recognisable vegetable for over 2 years now. For at least a year he's had a line on his star chart that gets a star whenever he takes even a bite of vegetable. In that entire year, he's had a star only when we've had spaghetti (thank God he never turned up his nose at spaghetti sauce) and once -at his 5th birthday party - for trying a bite of raw carrot.
I've been sneaking vegetables into everything from cookies to casseroles. I've always made a point of letting him know "you just ate a vegetable!" when I snuck it in. While it wouldn't make him turn up his nose at foods, it wouldn't make him want to try a bite of the vegetable in its natural form either.
I'm afraid, though, that my food processor is going to burn out! While I enoy the creativity of finding new ways to add vegetables to our diet, there are days I just wish he would eat a darn bite! It makes it incredibly difficult to eat out or even at my parents.
When I saw a second mention of this chart I thought I'd better check it out. I visited their amazing website and began to think it might be worth the $19.95, just to try. Never one to miss an opporunity to save money, though, I contacted the owner, Kia, to ask if I could get a discount in exchange for reviewing her product on the blog. She did even better and sent me a free demo version!
Yes I got this for free. But knowing now how it has affected our lives, I would have paid ten times what she's asking for it.
Seriously, it is that good.
Let me tell you why:
1. It eases your mind. Though I knew my son ate lots of fresh fruit even though he ate no vegetables, it wasn't until we started using this chart that I realised how great a variety of fruit he eats. I was sure it was mostly apples and bananas. But once we started tracking the colors of his fruits we quickly saw that he eats a rainbow every day.
2. It works better than a behaviour chart. The great graphics and design make your child really want to fill in the whole chart. If they can eat one fruit or vegetable from each of the color categories (red, orange, yellow, green, blue/purple) then they get to put their rainbow on. It rewards baby steps and a huge accomplishment, unlike a slot on your behaviour chart that just rewards one effort. You wouldn't believe how strongly my son wanted to complete his chart so he could put on his rainbow and sing the song.
3. It provides a platform for discussion. The color categories and the discussion of how to meet them really lets you talk to a child at their level about the importance of fruit and vegetables. There are amazing tips on the website and blog for furthering this discussion.
4. It made my son a vegetable eater!
Yes, that's right. We are still working on it, but the boy who ate no vegetables is willing to eat them in order to get his magnets. Not only that, he has actually asked for vegetables!
Two weeks ago we had a breakthrough of the kind I've never imagined. I'll share with you what I wrote to Kia, the owner and creator of Today I Ate a Rainbow
I wanted to share some excellent news. Tonight I was making some couscous blend and curried chicken stiry fry for supper. I envisioned a battle with Harrison but I had no idea what was going to happen.
As I was preparing the couscous the kids were bugging me for snacks -as they always do the moment I step into the kitchen. I told them no but mentioned I was about to slice some vegetables and they could snack on a few bites of those before supper. The minute she saw me take the green pepper out of the fridge my daughter got excited - she just loves raw pepper. So I sliced some and put it aside, the red pepper and the baby carrots as well. She walks off happily munching her green pepper and I hear Harrison ask her "what have you got?"
Next thing I know, he's asking for a piece. I ALMOST said no because I knew he would take one tiny nibble and throw the rest in the garbage. But he at least has been taking a nibble lately, so I thought I didn't want to discourage that. I handed it to him and he took a big bite, then grinned and went to show his sister that he had a piece too.
I almost fell over! He ate the whole thing. And when Teaghan came in asking for a piece of red pepper, he followed shortly behind her wanting the same. And then baby carrots.I was actually fishing vegetables out of the wok for them.
AND THEN he sat down to supper and ate all his vegetables including the zuchinni and onion AND a piece of curried chicken (until now we've basically only been able to get him to eat processed meats).
And then he ran straight to his chart and said "can I put on my magnets now?"