It's so exciting watching our kids grow up and become their own person, but often times what comes with that is a finicky food palate. Regardless if you eat healthy at home, sometimes children can discover new foods outside of the home and become a bit pickier with what they want to eat. Here are a few tips with how to deal with the pickiness and assist your child in eating a balanced diet.
1. Avoid begging or bribing: Begging can just become a nusense and often times, it just makes you and the child upset. And bribing can become expensive and may teach your child that they will receive a reward by doing something they don’t want to do.
2. Include your child in the prep work: Let them go grocery shopping with you, put groceries away and take part in food preparation (duties will vary depending on their age). If they feel like they contributed to the meal, then perhaps they will be keen to eat it.
3. Have healthy snacks on hand: If your veggies and fruits are chopped and prepared, your kids will be more likely to reach for them when they are looking for a snack (this also works for adults!)
4. Be a good role model: If your children see you eating colour, appealing foods, this may influence them to follow your example.
5. Don’t force them to eat: If your child isn’t hungry then they aren’t hungry and won’t eat regardless of what is on the plate. Forcing them to eat may make them associate mealtime with frustration and anxious thoughts.
6. Make it appealing: Nothing is more appealing than bright and colourful food. Provide different colours of food and make it fun – cut them into fun shapes or try to make “artwork” with the different foods on the plate.
7. Eat at the table and minimize distractions: With the way technology is going, it’s hard for all of us to look up from our phones. Make dinner time technology free – no phones, tablets, iPads or TV. The social aspect of the dinner table gives you time to talk to your kids, plus it allows everyone to be mindful of what they are eating and all the sensations that come with eating.
8. Hide the veggies or try alternatives: If all else fails, you can try to hide vegetables in their food. Puree vegetables can be added to soups, smoothies and sauces. Instead of chocolate bars see if they will try energy balls instead. Other replacements could be smoothies instead of milk shakes, homemade vegetable chips instead of potato chips, or banana nice cream instead of ice cream.
At the end of the day, you are in control of what is in your pantry and fridge. Your child shouldn’t control what foods you serve. It’s easier said than done, but patience is key. If you think of a time where you had to change a habit, you know it didn’t just happen overnight. But with practice and patience it likely eventually turned itself around so keep that in mind the next time your child refuses to eat their broccoli. Good luck parents!
All information and tools presented and written within this Article are for educational and Informational purposes only. Any nutrition, lifestyle and product recommendations are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Before starting any new supplements, diet and exercise program please check with your doctor or practitioner.