Getting your kids to eat anything at all can be a challenge for many parents. So in many cases, we may skimp on the quality of the food we give them simply to get them to eat. However, getting your kids to eat healthy foods can make a significant difference in their energy levels, and their immune systems. Not to mention it can affect their overall physical development as they transition from children into adults.
Regardless of how picky your little ones are, the good news is that with a little effort and creativity, you can get even the pickiest eaters to accept healthy options. Here are some of the best ways to get started.
Involve Them in Cooking
The more you can get your children involved during the cooking process, the more open they’ll be to try out what you’ve made. Empower them by getting them involved in everything from the preparation to washing the dishes. It may be a little messy along the way, you may even have to call an emergency plumber once or twice, but it will be worth it when you find yourself with a child interested in cooking and handling food.
The more familiar they are with the ingredients, the more open they’ll be to tasting them. Whereas if they seem overwhelmed or confused by the ingredients on their plate, they’re unlikely to have an open mind.
Make Healthy Foods Fun
It may seem like extra work, however, if you can make the plates feel like something fun, then they’ll be much more likely to try it out. For example, making faces out of ingredients can be a fun way to charm them into taking a bite. You can even add extra colorful foods to create rainbow flavors that they’ll be enticed to give a try. While you’re at it, consider themed meals of their favorite cartoon, or song.
Another way to add a dose of fun to a mealtime for picky eaters is by allowing them to build their own version. For example, making their own tacos or pizza by choosing from fresh healthy ingredients will make them feel like they’re in control. When in reality, even though they’re the ones choosing the ingredients, the only ingredients they have to choose from are healthy.
Limit Exposure to “Unhealthy” Foods
Out of sight means out of mind, and this is particularly true for foods. The more you limit your child’s access to foods deemed unhealthy, the less they’ll ask for them. After all, if your child has never been to McDonald’s before, then how can they learn to prefer that over a healthy meal?
From a young age, establish healthy food associations and limit their awareness of “unhealthier” alternatives. This can be challenging since you can’t always filter out what they are exposed to at school or friends’ and family’s homes. However, it can significantly reduce pickiness since “unhealthy” eating is usually a result of being conditioned to be so. If they never eat a french fry how can they possibly crave one?
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