Children and picky eating: they go hand in hand. First and foremost, if your child is a picky eater and straight up refuses to touch anything that is remotely healthy, then you can rest assured that it is a common problem that nearly all parents face at some point or another. However, this is not to say that the problem shouldn’t be dealt with, or attempted to be dealt with.
The first tactic you should attempt, well, is not really a tactic at all: it’s more of a lifestyle choice on your behalf. You need to make it clear to your children that whatever you serve for dinner is all that is on offer. There will be no chance of you cooking up something else just because the original dinner is not touched. This means that your child becomes aware that it’s the food that sits before them on the dinner table, or nothing. This should be a meal that panders to their tastes, but that is also sprinkled with a dash of healthiness; this could be a pasta dish that is infused with vegetables, such as the super-veg pasta. Providing a food that doesn’t necessarily shout ‘look at me, I’m healthy’, that still is in fact healthy, may help your children to overcome any mental barrier that they have in regards to their desire to not eat healthy foods. For instance, there are ways to make fruit far more appealing to your children that include serving them with a dip, dressing or yogurt and by turning them into smoothies. In regards to this latter option, turning fruit into smoothies may trick your child into believing it is a milkshake that they are drinking, which is why they agree to drink it in the first place. And then, once they do start drinking it, they’ll either hate the concoction and refuse to drink on, or realise that it’s actually not that bad after all. Either way, it can’t hurt to try it.
What you should always be doing is offering yourself up as a healthy eating role model to your children. A fact of life is that your child learns by imitating you. Imitation is milestone for toddlers, so you should, if you can, from this very time period be trying to show your children what to eat by eating it yourself. Doing so will mean that you are going a long way to ensure that your child eats healthily, and it will mean that you are eating healthier too, which may result in you getting sick less often — so everybody wins! If your child sees you eating chocolate, they will want chocolate; if they, however, see you eating an apple, they will want an apple. It’s science. There are an array of healthier family meals options out there to try so that, when it comes to dinner time, everybody, small or big, can sit down to a nutritious meal. You should, however, always be prepared for the odd mishap when trying to make your children eating healthier. There may be the occasional spitting of food halfway across the room, but that’s to be expected!
So, if you want to make sure that your child is eating foods that keep them healthy and help them to carry on growing up strong, make sure to take the advice above.