Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.
Picky eating is every parent’s nightmare. From making multiple meals to being constantly concerned about your child’s health — the whole thing is just an ordeal! But don’t worry — there’s a solution to every problem. Here are ten effective tips to help ensure you don’t raise a picky eater!
Did you know that what a mother eats while pregnant can impact her to-be-born child’s flavor preferences? So, by eating nutritiously or helping your partner do so (in case you’re a dad), you can prevent picky eating even before your child is born!
However, this does not mean you are off the hook once your child enters the world. Preventing picky eating habits early on is much easier than changing ones steadfastly established. So the earlier you start your child’s food exploration journey, the better!
Switch Up The Menu
Kids are visual creatures. Colors, shapes, and textures intrigue and excite them. And seeing the same food presented in the same way over and over again is a sure way to make them dislike it.
Sp when catering to kids, changing the menu or at least parts of it is key. For example, you can serve leftovers but with different veggies each time. Or you can try cooking the same ingredients in another way. Here are some of our favorite delicious, easy, and family-friendly vegetarian recipes for you to try!
Unfortunately, work and household responsibilities mean some of us don’t get time to spend with our children, let alone get creative with cooking. In that case, private chefs from a service like Gathar are the way to go!
Not only can they unburden you from cooking and presenting food in new ways, but they may also prove cost-effective if ordering out has become the go-to option for your household.
Make One Meal Per Day
Providing your kids with too many meal options can often backfire. So cook one meal a day, and don’t give in to demands for alternative food items. Holding your ground may be exhausting and you may feel tempted to give in, but remember, if your child learns that they can get away with refusing to eat what’s on their plate, mealtime will remain miserable forever.
Have Set Meal Times
Kids will naturally feel hungry if they are used to eating at a certain time. And if they are hungry, they are more likely to eat anything you give them. So create a set schedule so your kids know when to expect their food. And avoid snacking between meals, so they are ravenous when they come to the table.
Avoid Distractions During Meal Times
Cell phone usage at the dinner table doesn’t just hamper social bonding. Research shows that it also impairs our ability to enjoy food. When kids use gadgets when eating, their ability to see, touch, taste, and smell food is compromised, ruining their whole dining experience. So make sure you enforce a no-gadget rule during meal times, so they become pleasurable experiences for both you and your kids.
Embrace The Mess
If you’ve been a parent to a toddler before, you know that food exploration can be messy. Sometimes, it will take spilling drinks and smushing food for your child to fall in love with a food item. And that is okay. You don’t want to make your kids afraid of exploring foods by stopping to clean them every second. Let them eat however they choose!
Pair New Foods With Old Favorites
If you are planning to introduce your kids to new foods, you’re already on your way to prevent them from becoming picky eaters. However, this plan will work better if you pair new foods with an old favorite. The idea is to use foods your child already loves to get them to try new items. Here is an interesting take on how flavor pairing gets kids to eat veggies and some food pairings for you to try out at home!
Do Not Bribe Or Punish Your Child
Eating fruits, vegetables, and other items necessary for good health should be normal behavior. If you cheer every time your child takes a bite of salad, they will soon be unable to eat vegetables without that show of excitement. So it’s important to offer just enough enthusiasm to keep the process moving forward, but not so excessively that your child becomes reliant on it.
On the other hand, punishing your child if they don’t eat the food you’ve put in front of them does no good either. Your child will immediately associate the food with the bad memory of being punished and might come to dislike it permanently.
Let Your Children Help Make The Food
Kids want to do everything their parents are doing. In the case of food, let them! For example, if you have a home garden, you can let your child help you pick fruits and vegetables. Similarly, if you’re baking a cake, you can let them dump the flour and eggs into the mixing bowl. When your kids help you prepare a food item, they are far more likely to try it! Here are 20 easy recipes to make with your kids.
Explain The Why Of It
Kids are free spirits. You can’t just burden them with a bunch of do’s and don’ts. If your kid doesn’t understand your rule, they probably won’t follow it. So, explain it to them. Instead of saying eat carrots, try saying carrots are good for your eyes.
Of course, teaching children about healthy eating isn’t easy. However, once they understand why you’re encouraging healthy eating habits, they’ll listen to you more!
The Bottom Line
Remember, each kid is different, and even after you’ve made every effort, your child may still end up hating broccoli. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try preventing them from being a picky eater. So try all 10 of our tips one at a time — and we hope at least some of them work for you!
Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.