Feeding picky eaters
‘Mommy, I don’t want to eat that’… have you heard this all too many times? Don’t let these remarks deter your efforts to serve healthy food to your family. As kids develop and grow, their taste buds also mature. Some kids cannot tolerate certain textures and flavours, but trust your judgement. They need to try something at least 7-10 times before they can claim not to like a specific food. Sometimes it’s more a prejudice idea, than a true experience they refer to.
Here are a few tips that may ease the journey:
- be the role model – you can’t expect kids to eat veggies if one of the parents avoid it like the plague
- don’t be too vocal about your own dislikes – they pick up on this too easily
- tell them why a certain food is good for them and keep the facts fun and creative
- variety is an excellent way to encourage their palates to develop
- choose a colourful range of fruit and veggies to include different nutrients in the meal
- flavours, textures and colours must be appetising
- remember to keep textures and flavours appropriate for their age
- gradually introduce new foods and flavours and don’t give up after only one or two attempts
- teach your kids from an early age the sweetness from a fruit or baby tomato as the benchmark and not that from sweeties
- prepare food as natural as possible – don’t teach their taste buds artificial flavours from processed and pre-prepared foods. These are often overly sweet, salty or high in fat, so rather avoid or keep these for a treat
- keep portions manageable and the size of cut-up fruit and veggies easy for them to handle
- involve them with the choice of foods and let them help in the kitchen – kids will often eat what they prepared themselves
- be clever with ways to hide healthy foods: add grated carrots or baby marrows and even oats to a mince mixture, fish cakes, meat balls or soup.
- never bribe children to eat their fruit or veggies in return for a sweet treat – it cultivates a negative relationship with food, that you definitely want to avoid
Teach them healthy eating habits, it’s the best gift you can give your kids.
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