Having one fussy eater in the family is tough to deal with. I have two (aged 3.5 years and 6.5 years) and some days, it can be a serious challenge.
As a Mom, it’s natural to get frustrated with your child’s eating habits. I have spent hours reading articles and researching tips and tricks that other Moms have tried themselves to get their kids to eat the right foods. Some work and some don’t – every child is different.
So, what can YOU do about it?
Firstly, know that it’s completely normal and not something you did wrong. Kids becoming fussy eaters is part of their development – it’s really a way of them learning to explore their environment and learning to be their own person who has their own likes and dislikes.
Secondly, it’s really not all doom and gloom and there are some ways of getting them eating better. It won’t happen overnight, but it can be done. Patience and diligence and some careful planning (and, yes, some sneakiness) is required!
Here are my recommended tips that have worked for me and can work for you too:
- Work out which of the foods they do like are good ones and make sure to keep incorporating those into their daily meals and/or snacks.
- Consider which of the food items they like that could be disguised into a healthier item. For example, my kids prefer and love white bread. If they see brown bread, they freak out and tantrums can be expected. I now toast the brown bread when they aren’t looking and they think its white bread. Many kids enjoy pizza, so I have replaced the base with the cauliflower base, so I know I can get some vegetables into their meal.
- Try either grating vegetables onto your food and, if possible, mixing it into the meal’s sauces instead of putting vegetable chunks on their plate. This works really well with toddlers!
- Another vegetable trick that has worked wonders is to roast vegetables and, once cooked, place them in a food processor and process until it’s like a mashed potato consistency. In our home, we call it “Jungle Mush” as it has a variety of colours from the butternut and green vegetables. This is a great way to get a variety of vegetables into their tummies in one go.
- Try making some fruit smoothies and incorporating some seeds before processing to get some Omega’s, fibre and other nutrients in.
- When struggling with a particular item, as much as I hate to say it, bribery can work. Either start using a reward chart and give stars with an end goal they can work towards reaching e.g. prize, special treat, etc
- f all else fails, try giving your kids a healthy drink to down the food they don’t particularly like – this makes the whole process a bit easier.
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