If your child is picky with food you’ll know that meal times can be a bit of a challenge. Picky eating is common but there are lots of things you can do to support your kids. To start encouraging more adventurous eating habits, focus on these 8 tips!
1 . Remain patient when serving new foods
If your child is a picky eater you’ll need to remain patient when you are serving new foods. Little kids tend to smell or touch new foods, without actually eating them. If your child is a picky eater they might even put the new food in their mouth, and then put it back on the plate.
You may need to serve the food a few more times before your child eventually eats it. Keep on encouraging your child by talking positively about the texture, aroma and color of the food. Talk about how the food is healthy. Explain why healthy food for kids is so important. It’s best to focus on the health aspect rather than promising that the food tastes nice, (because your child may not agree)!
2. Get creative
When you’re serving new foods, creativity can be helpful to encourage your child. You could make your child’s foods into fun shapes, whether it’s hearts or smiley faces? You might also like to look up a few easy recipes that you and your child could make together? Alternatively you could encourage them by using themed dinner plates (their favourite movie characters or animals etc). Getting creative is a great way to help your kids to eat healthier.
3. Grow your own vegetables
If your child is a picky eater it can be helpful to teach them more about healthy foods and sustainability. One of the best ways to do this is to grow your own vegetables in the garden.
According to a study in Science Daily, children are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables if they are home grown. This was particularly true when children were involved in the growing and cooking process.
4. Useful resources
There are plenty of useful blogs out there which can help you find suitable recipes for your kids. To get started check out 15 high iron recipes for picky eaters. There are also a few apps which can help you to support your child, such as:
- Awesome Eats.
- Nicholas Garden.
- Grow Garden.
- Veggie Circus Farm.
5. Include your child
When children are picky eaters it can help to include them in the shopping process. Allow your child to pick out a few vegetables or fruits that they haven’t tried before. Letting your child help out can encourage them to feel more confident about trying new foods. It can also be helpful to serve these new foods with dishes that they already like. After a while, your child will adapt and start to enjoy the tastes that they weren’t so keen on at first.
6. Avoid offering an alternative
If your child is refusing to eat a meal because they don’t like it, it can be tempting to offer an alternative option. The problem is, when you reward fussy eating this only makes things worse. Instead of providing an alternative, have your child sit with the rest of your family until everyone is finished, and then let them go and play. Once your child learns that there is nothing else on offer they are less likely to continue being picky.
7. Use the rule of rotation
To support your child’s eating habits it’s important that you offer a variety of different foods. If you serve broccoli with dinner on monday, serve aubergine on Tuesday, and carrots on Wednesday, and so on. When your child becomes used to eating the same foods too often this may encourage pick eating. Variety will help them to try lots of new things, and get used to eating lots of different types of food.
8. Invite friends for dinner
Does your child have any friends who are non-picky eaters? If so, it can be helpful to invite them round for dinner. Kids are very impressionable and are often ready to copy what their friends do! This tactic isn’t guaranteed to work, but it sure is worth a try.
Of course, you can also be a role model yourself, ensuring that your child sees you eating a wide variety of different healthy foods.
These tips can help you to support your child on their healthy eating journey. Children with healthy eating habits will take these habits into their teenage and adult years. It’s worth trying!
Thank you for reading!