Getting fussy eaters to eat is a challenge. Getting fussy eaters to eat a variety of food is an even bigger challenge. More often than not, to avoid turning mealtimes into a battle zone, many parents reluctantly give in and let the kids eat whatever they want, as long as they eat something.
However, this will only encourage bad eating habits in the long run. All is not lost, though. There are tips that parents can use to help their children try new food. After all, eating a variety of foods is key to good health. Here’s how parents can give their kids a variety of healthy foods.
Take Children Food Shopping
Kids will show an interest in food if they have a role in choosing their own food. Take children food shopping whenever possible. Don’t linger around aisle with junk food, sweets and processed foods, though. Spend more time in the fresh meat, fruit and vegetable areas. Actively look for new fruit and vegetable to try with the kids.
Colors appeal to kids. And fresh fruits and vegetables with bright, vibrant colors are often packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Go for a wide range of colors of fresh foods as much as possible.
Plant Greens in the Garden
If there is space in the backyard, consider setting up a vegetable plot. Tomatoes, beans and herbs are easy to grow. Get the children to help out. They will enjoy watering vegetables and harvesting them. Since the children have a major role in the food production, they will eat their greens!
Related: Best Gardening Supplies for Kids
Get Kids to Help in the Kitchen
While some parents think that kids are only a hindrance in the kitchen, others have successfully turned their kids’ interest in meal preparation into something useful. The latter get little kitchen helpers and little people who will eat their meals.
To get kids to help in the kitchen, keep their tasks simple. For example, mom can peel and cut a variety of vegetables while the child can place the various pieces in saucepans ready to be put on the stove. The child will quickly make her way to the dining table when it’s mealtime to sample “her” cooking.
Present Foods in Fun Ways
Like colors, shapes have a special place in children’s heart. Not surprisingly, breads and cookies with animal shapes are a big hit with kids. Use the same strategy when presenting healthier food choices. To encourage kids to eat vegetable salads, why not cut the vegetables up in pieces and sticks that can make a face on a plate? Putting the pieces into a skewer is fun, too. To make whole grain breads more interesting, use sandwich cutters for kids to cut out fun shapes for the kids to eat.
Children do need a bit of encouragement when it comes to trying new foods. They are often more cooperative when they have a role in choosing and preparing their food. Take kids food shopping, plant greens in the family garden, and get kids to help in the kitchen. Another good idea to help kids try new foods is to present them in fun and interesting ways.