What is meal time like at your home? Are you kids joyfully scarfing down plates of spinach, broccoli and beans or are they turning their noses up and saying, “Oh please!”? Most kids go through a less than amicable phase of fleeing from foods that are supposed to be “good” for them. You are not alone. The most important thing is not to give up on your “picky eater”. The truth is, it takes more than a few times of offering a new food (especially the greens ones), before a child will be keen on it, so don’t cross it off just yet.
Raising a “good eater”, takes patience, creativity, practice and some more patience. It’s the kind of work that will make you want to pull your hair out sometimes but, you have to be in for the long haul. On my recent appearance on Let’s Talk Live, I discussed three tips to get your picky eater to eat more and fuss less.
These tips are not meant to replace serving traditional fruits and vegetables during mealtimes. Think of these tips as tools to add to your mealtime toolbox.
This post contains a few affiliate links for things that I am obsessing about right now.
Get Sneaky (But Not Really)
Mix foods that kids don’t like with things they already enjoy. Muffins, meatballs, smoothies and even cakes serve as great “hiding” places for foods that are not yet fan favorites. The best part is, most times your child won’t even notice the difference. Of course you can use any blender you like but I love the Blendtec 725, Stainless Steel on Blender, it makes smoothies, juices, food purees and more in just seconds.
By the way, hiding fruits and vegetables in food is no excuse for not including a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in every meal. Kids need adults to be consistent and persistent to have long lasting change.
Presentation and Preparation
Kids love to see their food served up in unique and creative ways. Simple things like making a raisin smiley face in a morning bowl of oatmeal may be enough to get them to eat the whole bowl. Skewers and chopsticks are great additions to meal time and turn mundane foods into something new and exciting. I love these Hog Wild Zoo Sticks Party Set Chopsticks and now my daughter is begging to use them all the time…even for things red quinoa.
You can see them in action in my Picky Eater’s tv segment and find out other ways to add some creativity to your family meal time.
Make it a Family Affair
Getting your kids to eat their vegetables is by no means all on them, this is a team sport! If you want your children to eat their fruits and veggies, then be a good example and eat yours too! It’s not enough to just eat a salad here and there either. Serve fruits and vegetables at every meal and make sure that your children see you enjoying them.
Invite your children into the kitchen and have them help you cook. Kids are more likely to eat foods that they have helped to create and prepare. It also helps if you can offer some choices during meal times.”Would you like black or pinto beans? Red or green pepper? Eggplant or zucchini”? Offering choices are a great way to get kids involved and excited about eating healthy. Another great idea to get kids eating more healthfully is to plant a family garden. I’ve already asked our five year old what she wants to grow in our family garden this year and she is excited to not only help, but eat from our garden too.
Use these picky eater tips with your children today, and they will benefit from a more healthful future tomorrow.