So if you want your children to eat more healthy fare, serve it up and then sit down with them.
Here are some other suggestions for you:
- Keep plant foods such as fruit and vegetables within your child's reach while leaving junk food out of his reach.
- Don't make fuss about it too much but be a good example! (Don't forget, MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO)
- Start your child on a healthy diet as early as possible. However, if you believe that your child is too old for it, just remember: NEVER TOO LATE! It may take a bit more effort and time, but be consistent and never loose hope.
- Some kids go in and out of picky times. Stay calm and keep pursuing a healthy diet perhaps with a few adjustments.
- Try different recipes with the same ingredient at times. For example; offer red capsicum raw, make a dip out of it, stuff it with some minced beef or rice, add some capsicum to your child's favourite salad or try red pepper and zucchini strips with hummus and so on. If you are experiencing some difficulty in feeding your child spinach in salad, then try giving it to him raw, just as is or add it into some soup, make an omelette with it or may be you discover that your child likes it in pies.
- Introduce colours. Some kids tend to like/dislike foods that have a certain colour. I have heard of people complaining about their kids not eating/even trying any food that is green or red. If that is the case, see whether she can pass this stage without missing out on too much. For instance, if your child dislikes zucchini because it is green (at least on the outside), what about peeling it before you cook it or offering him some yellow squash instead (every food is different but some have similar nutrients to the other)?
- Try including a wide range of fruit and vegetables in your everyday diet while keeping portion sizes right. Do not stick to only a few types. Be adventurous! Not a single type of food can do the job alone. Young babies can thrive on a single food, breast milk, but the rest of us need to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods to ensure our needs are met. Every food has a contribution to make – a small part to play in good nutrition, health and wellbeing.
- Make sure what you offer your child is fresh and looks appetising.
- Go fruit/vegetable picking as a family if possible.
- I highly recommend you to grow some veggies or fruit. I know it from my personal experience that whenever Mr. Junior is involved in the care or the harvesting of a certain type of fresh produce in the garden, he enjoys eating it better too. Encourage your child to grow a few herbs, vegetables or if possible, fruit in pots or in the garden and you are likely to see that your child will be more interested in consuming that food.
- Prepare meals/snacks with your children. Again, it is all about personal involvement.
- What else works for us most often is that we ask Mr. Junior his opinion when we make menus for the day or for dinner etc. We do it in a controlled way though. We don't necessarily give him all the options in the world but we often ask him what he thinks we should have, for example, for dinner and then we may list a few options: Celery soup, broccoli soup or mushroom soup?
- Some people make funny faces or other shapes on plates. They believe that it makes it more attractive for their kids. I don't think it would hurt to give it a try.
- Be creative. There is almost always an option to everything. You can't feed your child rice? Try bulgur (cracked wheat) then. He won't eat spinach? What about offering him silverbeet then?
- Many have found that going out of the way to cook for your child instead of offering your whole family a well rounded meal makes for picky eaters. If a child knows you'll give them hot dogs and mac-n-cheese, then that's all they'll want.
- Serve small. Pay attention to the serving size as some kids find it overwhelming if they see a large amount on their plates. Just serve small first and then you can encourage them to eat more if you like.
- You may decide to agree with some 'treats' at certain places or times depending on what your opinion on it is. Make sure that your kid understands the difference between meals and snacks and 'treats'.
- There are some arguments on this particular one but you do what works for you the best. Here is the suggestion: Don't give your child options. Give your child what you have prepared for dinner (obviously make sure that it is suitable for your child as well) at dinner time. If your child refuses to eat it, be calm, but make sure that he understands that there is nothing else that he will be given for dinner or snack that night. It is the food for that day's dinner. This may take a few nights when your child goes to bed without dinner (which is where the different opinions come into the picture). I have learnt that there is a saying in Spanish which roughly translates to 'When you are hungry, there is no stale bread'.
- Educate your children starting from an early age! It is likely to take some time, but be consistent and never loose hope.
I hope these suggestions have been helpful to you. If you can think of anything else, we would love to hear. Please share your ideas in the comments section.
Have a day that is as fresh and healthy as a freshly handpicked apple!