You want them to eat healthy. They want to eat everything else. They turn their noses up at the food you place in front of them. If you are the parent of a little one you know the struggle is real. And, if you have more than one child, it’s even harder because chances are they won’t like the same food on the same day. If you are going through this right now, know that you are not alone and it will get better. But, while you are in the middle of this stage of life, try these 4 tips to getting your kids to eat healthy.
Try These Tips
- Let Them Play – Many times when children say they don’t like a food item, it is really that they aren’t familiar with it. We are so used to telling our children “don’t play with your food”, but this is one time when we should encourage them to. Allow you child to get familiar with the food. Let them see what it feels like and how it smells. Show them what it looks like on the outside and the inside. While they are investigating a new food, they will often decide to taste it on their own.
- Add Some Fun – If your child is refusing to eat something see if you can make it a little more fun. Try putting it on a skewer and creating kabobs. Let them try using chopsticks instead of a fork. It will become a game to try to get the food into their mouth while using the chopsticks that they might just forget they are eating something they didn’t want to try.
- Grow a Garden – Children love to be a part of stuff and feel like they are helping with something important. Allow them to help you plant a garden outside if your weather will permit, or see what you can grow inside. I was shocked when my picky eater plucked a carrot from the ground and started eating it immediately. When they feel a sense of ownership and pride over the plant they are more likely to want to try it.
- Keep it Easily Available – Make healthy food easy for your kids to get to and available to eat. Wash, cut and prep veggies and fruits when you first buy them. When the items are ready and waiting, your children are more likely to eat them. During the times of the day when you children are wanting to snack, put out a plate with an assortment of options on it and allow them to pick and choose. Try using some items they have tried and liked and some new options: sliced bell peppers, cheese cubes or slices (the age of your child should determine how you slice the cheese for them), apple slices, and carrot sticks.
Remember that the more you expose a child to an item the more likely they are to try it. It can take more than 7 times of trying a food before a child acquires a taste for it, so don’t give up!