Every single day, many of us deal with picky eaters both big and small. We know how important it is to feed our kids healthy foods, but we're just not sure how to do it. Setting a good example and a little creativity can go a long way to make fruits and vegetables and healthy foods more exciting.
1. Be patient – If an unfamiliar food is not accepted the first time, it can be offered again later. Picky eating behavior is a perfectly normal phase at certain ages in your child's development.
2. Promote fruit and vegetables – Always keep plenty of cleaned, ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables handy. Catch kids when they are hungry! After school and before bed are times when kids often have the biggest appetite. Make sure there are plenty of healthy snack choices available for these times. Try setting out a bowl of baby carrots, grape or cherry tomatoes on an area nearby the children and it won't take long for the veggies to disappear.
3. Persist to serve fruits and vegetables – Even If you have a vegetable-resistant child, it's important to continue to serve vegetables at the family table. Don't give up; kids sometimes need 10 or more exposures to a food before they will take their first bite! Be a good role model.
Tip of the Day! Establish a one spoon “No Thank You” rule. Encourage your child to try a spoonful of each fruit or vegetable your serve. If they don’t like it, they can let you know by saying “No Thank You!”
4. Present food in appealing ways – Combine colors, textures and shapes of food. Offer small quantities of a new food alongside a familiar one, without pressure to eat the new food. Try one of our kids favorite meals recipes.
5. Have family meals together – Family meals are important. Eating together on a routine basis contributes to good nutrition. Children are more eager to eat foods that they see family and friends enjoying.
6. Let children participate – Involve kids in food-related activities such as shopping, menu planning, cooking and gardening. Kids are more likely to eat something that they had a hand in creating.
7. Encourage drinking water – When kids fill up on sweetened beverages such as soda pops or other sweet drinks, they can lose their appetite.
8. Read or listen to stories about fruits and vegetables – Children learn many of their eating behaviors by watching or listening to what others do or say. Find books and listen to stories about fruits and vegetables. Children easily pick up subtle messages about how others view foods.
9. Positive Encouragement – Children love to get rewarded for trying new foods and making good food choices. Create a chart for their accomplishments and give them a small reward. Don’t use food as rewards. For example, withholding a sweet dessert until all the vegetables are eaten may establish a preference for the dessert and a dislike for the vegetables. Good ideas are stickers, tattoos, and small toys.
10. Respect individual food preferences – Every child has different likes and dislikes.
For more tips and advice on kids nutrition visit: www.kidsandnutrition.co.uk