As parents, we always want to do what is best for our children. That’s easier said than done though, especially when it comes to food. Having a picky eater can be one of the most frustrating experiences for both parents and children. The good news is there are ways to make it a little easier and relieve the pressure.
1. Don’t keep junk food or food that you DON’T want your child to eat in the house: You might not think this is a big deal, but it is. If you are trying to get your child/children to eat healthy the last thing you want them looking at is a pantry full of food that you don’t want them to eat. Out of sight, out of mind. So, lets remove the cookies, the chips, the crackers, the processed food, the desserts from the house. I’m not saying forever, but I am saying until your child and the rest of the family is eating a well balanced “diet.” I use the word diet for lack of a better word. This is all about a healthy lifestyle, not a diet.
2. Lead by example: Our kids are always watching us. Even when we think they aren’t….they are. So, if you want them to eat healthy, you need to eat healthy. They might not jump on board right away, but eventually they will. They want to do what mom and dad are doing, so set a good example.
3. Make it a positive experience not a negative experience: When trying to get your child to try a new fruit or vegetable or chicken or whatever it might be. Don’t threaten them with things like “You can’t leave the table until you eat your veggies” or “No TV for you tonight if you don’t try this” Take the positive approach of “You can have 10 extra minutes of TV time tonight if you try your spinach” or “You can stay up a little later tonight” I’m not huge on bribing kids but sometimes a parent has to do what a parent has to do. JUST DON’T BRIBE WITH DESSERT!!!! Thats a big no no, it goes against what you are trying to accomplish, which is getting your child to eat healthier food.
4. Let your kid be the boss: That’s right, let them tell YOU what they want to try. Take your kids levitra healthcarewell grocery shopping with you, let them pick out one fruit and/or one vegetable that looks interesting to them. This way they area already more likely to at least give it a taste or a lick at the very least, because they picked it out.
5. Get them in the kitchen cooking with you: Cooking in the kitchen with mom and dad gives kids a sense of pride. They feel like they got to help make something and they are excited to try their new creation. The more fun and exciting you make food, the more likely they are to try it.
There are a few other tips and tricks that you can try in addition to these basic ones. I think it’s really important to explain to kids the benefits of eating foods that are good for them and on the other side of that coin is explain what happens when they eat foods that are bad for them. This gets a bit tricky as you want to tread very lightly when talking about a child’s weight. When I explain things to my 7 year old son, Dominic, I say things like:
“Eating your veggies makes you stronger, they help you run faster, protein gives you strong muscles, eating sugar and junk food will slow you down when you are skateboarding and make it harder for you to perform tricks because your body won’t have enough fuel to do them.”
It’s important to always keep it positive with our kids. They are our future and we want it to be a positive one, we want them to have a positive relationship with food. I’ve also let Dominic watch some documentaries on food with me. We’ve watched Super Size Me, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Fed Up.
Lastly you can find recipes that allow you to “hide” veggies in things like sauces and soups, add them to smoothies or try making popsicles and ice-cream out of fruit.
No matter what remember to have patience with your kids and with yourself.
For more on creating healthy habits in the home, check out my past blog post The Importance of Fruits and Vegetables.
I’d love to hear from you guys. What are your tips when it comes to dealing with picky eaters? Leave them in the comments below!
Your partner in health,