As a parent, you certainly put great stock in nutrition to keep your kids healthy, resilient, and to boost their physical and mental development. Yes, eating properly is crucial, but so is developing healthy eating habits, which can be tricky when you have picky eaters on your hands!
To help your youngsters develop a fondness for new and sometimes strange-tasting foods (who was born into liking broccoli, right?), you can use some of the following tips and tricks. Let us know how they work out for you and your little ones!
Have you tried smoothies?
Toddlers are more likely to reject various fruits and veggies that they aren’t used to, but to slowly diversify their meals, you can add those into their smoothies! The colors and familiar base flavors they like, such as banana, apple, and berries, can mask the more earthy flavors of healthy nuts and seeds, as well as spinach and greens.
As you include your kids into the food prepping process, enticing them to add these colorful ingredients can make them feel more comfortable with trying them once they realize they don’t change the flavors they already love.
Make meals fun and exciting
How about healthy pancakes with smiley faces and funny hairdos made of fresh fruit and honey? Eye-catching and creative-looking plates filled with healthy foods are much more likely to entice your toddler to eat or at the very least try new ingredients.
Finger foods and bite-sized colorful meals can also be extremely appealing for youngsters and adding a healthy dip even more so. Then you can try with new textures – finely chopped, minced, diced, or mashed. Try a variety of ways to add a creative touch to your recipes and food presentation and you’ll help your kids get used to new flavors.
Keep trying new tricks
We all know that each kid is different, and as they grow up, you discover new ways they approach food, but eliminating their picky eating might be more of a challenge. In that sense, it’s a good idea to always keep learning, and our Picky Eating Wellness Workshop can get you started on the most effective tips and tricks you can apply.
The more you learn, the easier it will become to expand your kids’ menu with healthy foods in creative ways without forcing them to develop an unhealthy, negative attitude towards food.
Stick to a healthy eating routine
Variety is good as long as it doesn’t affect your kids’ eating routine. Because having a routine helps them get a sense of when they can anticipate which foods, and how they can manage their own hunger and snacks.
If they, for example, don’t like a particular food and they skip a meal for it, you can have them try it again the next couple of days to see if they might open up to the idea. Introducing new foods can be tricky, so it’s vital to make sure your kids are hungry at the appropriate times and more inclined to have a taste of that kale or cabbage!
Get your kids involved
From meal planning, cooking, baking, all the way to trying out new ingredients and spices, kids can actually fall in love with the process of food preparation, not just eating. That is one of the best ways to increase the child’s sense of accomplishment and appreciation for the meal itself – their contribution will make the meals seam much more appetizing!
While you’re at it, you can introduce them to sugar and artificial sweetener alternatives that are delicious yet healthy, and teach them to combine ingredients to create lovely color combinations in smoothies to make their meals look and feel diverse.
Some kids are fickle with their eating patterns, but others adapt quickly. If you end up worrying about your child’s nutrition and you want additional support, you can book an appointment with us, and we’ll take it from there! Designing a tailored meal plan with the right approach can help set the stage for your kids’ healthy relationship with food, and functional medicine is a great place to start.