There are some things your child probably loves to eat. If you could offer up pizza, a taco dinner, or macaroni and cheese every night, they would chow down like there was no tomorrow. Maybe you’ve been stuck in a pattern of doing something like that since they won’t seem to eat anything else!
It’s not uncommon for kids to be picky eaters, especially at the toddler stage. But, it can be frustrating for parents who want to encourage good nutrition, and teach the importance of a variety of foods. The good news? You’re not alone. About 50% of parents consider their children to be picky eaters at that age.
If your child refuses to try new foods and you’re at a loss for what to do (and can’t bear to make another box of mac and cheese for dinner), try these tips to change your child’s eating habits.
Getting your kids to eat something new might require some creativity at mealtime. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it, too!
If your child doesn’t seem to want to eat their vegetables, find ways to make them more appealing. Blend some spinach or kale into a morning smoothie with berries and yogurt and call it “dragon juice.”
Or, cut foods into fun shapes. You can make a regular turkey sandwich with veggies into something fun by using a large cookie cutter. It cuts off the crust and makes it more visually appealing for your child!
You can also try to introduce foods that are naturally fun by giving them a silly name or explanation. For example, maybe you wouldn’t dream of your child trying calamari, but when you use this simple recipe from themediterraneandish.com, you can present them as “pirate rings” to your kids! Use your imagination and try to “think” like a kid when you’re creating different meals.
Set a Good Example
Your child looks to you for everything, and even if it feels like they don’t always listen, rest assured that they’re always paying attention!
Studies have shown that kids are more likely to try new foods if people around them are eating those foods, too. So, don’t just “give in” to whatever your child wants to eat. One of the best ways you can encourage healthy eating is to make sure you’re eating the right foods in front of your child, too.
Get Them in The Kitchen
If you want to get your child interested in new foods, get them in the kitchen with you while you’re cooking. Cooking together is a great way to share some bonding time and make memories. But, it also will show your child exactly what’s going into each dish. If they feel as though they have an important part in putting the meal together, they’re more likely to try it once it’s finished.
Safe tasks like mixing, adding ingredients, and measuring will keep your child busy as they help you, and you’ll also be teaching them the importance of cooking healthy meals for themselves for the rest of their life!
So, if you have a picky eater, don’t despair. Keep these tips in mind to change the way your little one thinks about food, and mealtimes can be easier for everyone.