Do you have a picky eater in your family? Then you’re going to love Crunch A Color, a new card game that makes it fun to eat healthy foods. Jennifer Lee created the game out of a basic need to get her two kids to eat their vegetables.
Her 7-year old daughter, Catherine, devoured all kinds of fruits and vegetables as a toddler. But by five, she’d turned into a picky eater. Being the creative mom that she is, Jennifer made some hand-drawn playing cards with pictures of different kinds of fruits and vegetables to get her daughter to try beets and rainbow chard. The idea was to earn different points for different colored fruits and veggies. For example, a red radish earns you 15 points while a strawberry earns only 5 points; sweet potatoes are 15, but oranges are only 5.
The game was such a hit with her daughter and son that their friends started asking for copies and pretty soon she was developing a business. Jennifer’s father did the artwork—whimsical smiling tomatoes, broccoli, and eggplants—and her daughter, Catherine, came up with the name.
Jennifer is so committed to helping other families improve their nutrition that she gives back 5% of her profits to Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard Project, FoodCorps, and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.
When I read about Crunch A Color, I wanted to play it with my two granddaughters who are already adventurous eaters. They loved it. They both got so into the competition of earning points, they asked if I had any broccoli in the refrigerator! They set the table and cleared their plates to earn extra points, and wanted to try Cream of Wheat for breakfast because you earn double points for trying new foods. By the time we finished breakfast and lunch they’d racked up 60 points each!
Crunch A Color’s website is filled with creative tips and recipes for all different kinds of fruits and vegetables such as pan-seared brussels sprouts and green onion pancakes. You can download a reward chart to keep score for a week and choose a prize such as going to the beach. In addition, the card game comes with some helpful tips for parents:
- Stock up. On your next trip to the market, try to fill your cart with 5 different colors of veggies and fruits.
- Try it 10 times. Research suggests that by tasting a new food 10 times, a child has a better chance of liking that food.
- Give yourself a break. When life gets busy, have a pizza night and add fresh, raw veggies along with the pizza.
- Be flexible. Remember to use your judgment and do what’s best for your child.