Purpose: It is known that the consumption of fruits and vegetables in children is declining despite wide-spread national and international policy attempts to increase consumption. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the experiences of children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables so as to facilitate better health education targeting. Design/methodology/approach: In this qualitative descriptive exploratory study, peer group interviews were undertaken with 18 girls and 18 boys, aged 8-11, from schools in the Manawatu region of New Zealand. Findings: The results show that children’s consumption of fruits and vegetables is dependent on balancing risk and reward. Children know and understand the importance of eating fruits and vegetables; however, the perceived risks are typically the prevailing determinant of consumption. These perceived risks often stem from children’s uncertainty about whether the fruits and vegetables will meet the child’s sensory preferences. To mitigate the risks perceived in eating fruits and vegetables, children employ a range of avoidance strategies. Originality/value: This study’s results indicate that a model of “associated” risk is a valuable tool to explain children’s fruit and vegetable consumption and preference behaviour and to assist in the development of future health education intervention campaigns.