Picky children is a pretty common thing you see now-a-days! I strongly believe a lot of that comes from the parenting styles now though. Yes, there are many kids with sensitivity to food textures, smells, I’ve even read an article about broccoli tasting different to certain people or simply your child just doesn’t like something. (I hate mangoes, dark & white chocolate, among other things) Mason has never been a particularly picky child but he loves hot dogs but absolutely flips out if the bun breaks. One thing I am so proud of him (and I like to think we had something to do with it) is Mason will always say he’ll try something at least once, and if he doesn’t like it we definitely don’t push him to eat it. I’m talking about those parents that have given into there child so much with McDonald’s, they will never try new foods because she knows someone will make or buy her chicken nuggets – my niece! But no I’m not here to knock you down, I’m here to give you tips and help you if you need it!!
When we make up plates(including his) we always put the veggie, start with a very small helping, even if you don’t think they’ll touch the veggie still put it. You just never know!
- Making up the plates – do a small helping of each item, they can always go back for seconds.
Try but don’t force it, getting them to try at least one bite. This will be key, if you can get them to try at least one of bite of something, you’ve won, just whatever you do make it clear to them if they don’t like it they don’t need to eat as long as they’ve at least tried it. And really stick to your word.
Be a good role model. Eat good nutritious food just like them.
Try cooking the veggie different ways; steam, cook into the rest of the dinner, bake or even serve raw veggies.
- Don’t be afraid to compromise a little; if the rest of the family wants asparagus but one child will absolutely not try a green veggie, go ahead and throw a couple raw carrots on the plate.
- Make the whole family the same meal, don’t go out of your way and make separate meals. ∧ But a little compromise isn’t too bad.
Some cooked veggies just taste better with a little salt, pepper, butter or olive oil so sprinkle some on.
- Try cooking foods different ways, try new foods yourself. Test in the kitchen! Remember to keep your child in mind with using seasonings and spices – do they like spicy? too much green seasonings?
Make it fun; while your eating broccoli tell your kid to “eat the little trees”, “snap peas make you run really fast”…
Eating at the table together does help, they see you eating the food and no other distractions besides whats going on at the table. Light a candle to make it even more fun, just be prepared they will probably ask for this every night 😉
- Make prepping and cooking the meal a family affair, they love to be involved in this process.
- Let them help plan meals for the week. They get a say in it.
- Let them help(or have them do the full job) set the table.
- Nothing wrong with hiding healthy food in recipes, what they don’t know doesn’t hurt them.
- Another huge tip – always try to make something in the menu that you know your child will eat! Don’t make a whole meal with new to them foods and expect them to try it all and like it.
- Don’t allow “wandering”, if the rest of the family is sitting eating dinner make them sit there with the rest of the family, even if they aren’t eating. And later “when they’re hungry” warm up the plate of dinner and make them sit at the table again. Eventually they’ll get the idea.
- Whatever you do stick to your guns, if they didn’t eat their dinner no dessert.
- If you’re going to be a clean your plate type family, serve small proportions, they can come back for seconds. But keep in mind cleaning your plate might lead to obesity later in life.
Keep trying, it may take a while to instill good eating habits and for them to try something new and like it!! Always remember your child will not starve if they don’t touch the dinner.