Do you have a picky eater? I know how hard it can be when your child only wants to eat foods from the same food group, or worse, the same food over and over again! Most of the time the food your child likes isn’t very healthy! What is a parent to do?
Here are some tips that can help you get your child to
try a variety of foods.
If you’re like us, you resonate with compartmentalizing this process (and some good old bullet points). And, if you have tips of your own, drop them in the comments–we’d love to learn from you!
We know “the plan” is everything thus prepping both mentally and in practice will make this hurdle much easier to tackle.
- Shop wisely. As parents, we are the ones buying food for our children. If there is junk food at home, we are the ones buying it! Fill your fridge and pantry with real food – your kids will get used to it!
- Minimize the choices. Try to avoid asking your child the ever popular open-ended question: “what do you want to eat?”. Instead, choose two or three options so they can make a choice and not feel overwhelmed with too many options.
- Get your kids in the kitchen with you. Involving your kids with simple tasks in the kitchen can give them a sense of accomplishment and more desire to try their creation.
- Cut down on snacks. Kids who snack too much throughout the day won’t be hungry enough to eat real food, let alone try new foods. When snacking is a must, avoid fruit juices (these are essentially sugar water) and focus on whole fruits and vegetables.
Once you’ve wrapped your head around tackling these tips, there’s not much that’s more important that putting them into practice–at the dinner table.
- Sneak in the good stuff. Try to incorporate more veggies at all meals. This can mean adding finely chopped veggies to your meat sauce or including them in delicious smoothies.
- Talk to your children in words they understand. Keep conversations about food at the level of the child. Avoid complicated words and explanations. Keep it simple and let your child know what that particular food will do (or not do) for their bodies and minds.
- Eat as a family. Life is busier than ever! However, studies have shown that families who eat together tend to eat healthier foods than families who don’t. Connect with your children and nourish your bodies.
- Get creative. Food can be fun and silly! Arrange food in different shapes and funny faces. This makes your child more likely to try it and forms a positive relationship with food.
Mindset is everything
If there’s one thing we’re learning about all aspects of health, wellness and recovery, it’s the power of our minds!
- Shifting their mindset (and yours) from what they can’t eat to all the delicious foods they can eat!
- Don’t ban everything. Avoid putting foods into “good” & “bad” categories. As long as your children eat healthy foods most of the time, an occasional treat is not the end of the world!
- Tell your child how valuable they are. Try to get into the habit of letting your child know how special they are, with their unique gifts and potentials. Teach them to love themselves and to nourish their bodies in the best way possible.
- Be consistent & patient. Some of these tips may not work the first time and not with every picky eater so you may need to try many different strategies before you find what works for your child. Be consistent and pack your patience. Keep offering healthy options and stay strong!
Finally, you’ve GOT THIS.
Marwa Ismail, Health Coach, uses her training from Institute for Integrative Nutrition and MindBodyGreen to empower patients in making sustainable lifestyle changes to better their health & wellness.