Is your child refusing to touch anything that resembles a vegetable? Or would your toddler rather go hungry than eat anything but hot dogs? It’s a common issue for parents to find difficulty in making healthy food appealing to their children, but don’t feel discouraged. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you avoid the mealtime arguments and get your child eating a balanced diet.
Stick with a routine
Serving your snacks and meals at the same time each day is important to keep track of what and when they’re eating. Without scheduled snack and meal times, it’s easy to fill your child up on snacks and even juices throughout the day without realizing it. If your child is coming to the table for dinner each evening with a stomach full of snacks, they’ll be less likely to try what you’ve prepared for dinner.
Having plenty of scheduled meal and snack times also allows you to feel okay about your child skipping one of them if they opt out of trying what you’ve offered. Giving your little one plenty of scheduled opportunities to eat throughout the day will help your mind be at ease knowing they’re getting enough nutrition for their growing body.
Make it fun
Find recipes that disguise the healthy aspects that your child may veer away from. With resources such as Pinterest available today, it’s easy to find great brownie recipes that are secretly made from zucchini or popsicles that are loaded with fruit and milk.
The ways to make food fun and creative are endless, and just take a bit of extra time and creativity. Try cutting foods in different shapes to make them appealing, serving them on fun plates, or playing fun games to get your picky eater interested in his food.
Serving all new healthy foods at once may not be the best way to get your little one eating healthy. Try serving a new food each day, and encouraging your child throughout the process. If he or she decides she doesn’t love it, don’t force it as this could cause associated anxiety and frustration with meal time.
Overwhelming your child can be easy to do, but should be something you try to avoid. Making meal time enjoyable, fun, and stress-free is the best way to develop good eating habits in your child.
While implementing healthy eating habits may be one of the most difficult tasks a parent faces, it’s also one of the most important. Eating habits tend to stay with children throughout their adolescent and adult years and could eventually lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. Remember to take small steps and be patient throughout this journey with your picky eater, and keep in mind that you are not alone.