Every kid goes through a finicky eating phase, especially when a variety of new foods are introduced into their diet. Yes, we’re really talking about the time when you need to swap out those little chicken nuggets for broccoli. If your baby latched perfectly and gobbled down his pureed food but now, at the age of 5, refuses to eat anything that you make, don’t tear your hair out. Most of the time, kids’ picky eating habits don’t sit with the food itself, but rather with a handful of other toddler-esque issues…
If you’ve begun to give your little one a choice of what they get to wear in the morning and what movie that they want to see at the cinema, don’t be surprised if they’re turning their nose up at the dinner table. After all, your little one isn’t being given the choice that he or she is usually given.
Eat your mac and cheese or eat nothing at all!’ is what you feel temped to say, but there’s another (more productive, I promise) way in which to get this stubborn streak of independence out of your little diva or divo:
There is a strong possibility that your child really hates the taste of what you’re trying to feed them! Remember that our taste-buds age as we do (oh cruel, cruel world), so they have a heightened sense of taste at their young age. This makes some greens stronger to them than to us and spicy foods can be too much for them to handle.
If you’ve tried ten, fifteen or twenty times to get your child to eat their broccoli and they really think it’s yuck, it’s time to try and get them to eat their veggies by using other methods. This means that you’ll need to opt for vegetables that are more palatable to them such as gem squash, pumpkin and creamed spinach. Make a healthy sauce for bitter vegetables and also try roasting vegetables rather than boiling or steaming, as roasting brings out the natural sweetness of most vegetables.
Another helpful trick to remember is that sour substances counteract bitter tastes, so I usually add some lemon juice to broccoli and green beans to remove the bitter taste.
Change things up
Sometimes our kids are just restless at the dinner table, or bored, or not even hungry. Although it’s important to teach them to be calm while eating a family dinner, you can make it fun too. Sing a fun prayer before eating and display the food in a cute way. Cut their food up into convenient bite-sized pieces and arrange food into a smiley face for an added special touch.
If your child simply isn’t hungry, don’t force-feed them as this will only create anxiety around mealtimes. Rather plan meals at times when you know they will be hungry and use extreme hunger pangs to introduce new foods that they will wolf down more readily.
Last tips: Keep mealtimes to strict times that are the same each day, avoiding eating in front of the TV or not sitting with your kids while they eat. By helping them focus on the food and equating mealtimes as quality time, you will help your picky eater become a gobbler-with-gusto.
Good luck and happy dining!
For yummy meals that are not only quick and easy for you to make, but are also highly likely to be enjoyed by your children, keep an eye on the Comfort Fabric Softener blog.