You used to think you were a pretty good cook until the small human came along. If you have a child who just is not satisfied with anything you make, or one who refuses to eat vegetables it can be tempting to resort to junk. After all, popping chicken nuggets in the oven again is a lot better than them starving because they hate your food, right? Well, not necessarily! Having a picky eater can be frustrating, but these tips should help.
Be a Role Model
It’s easy to get away with eating unhealthy food while you are hiding in the pantry when you have a toddler, but sooner or later, you are going to have to be an example. When you eat healthy food, you send the right message.
Don’t Force It
They’re not hungry? No problem! So many parents insist that kids finish their plate. This could be why 33 percent of children in America are overweight. Since when does the amount of food on your plate have anything to do with how hungry you are? Kids should eat until they feel full. No need to overstuff. If they simply don’t want to eat because they don’t like the selection, they will probably eat more at the next meal or ask for a snack later. They are not going to starve in a matter of hours. If they know you’ll cave and make something different every time they don’t want their vegetables, they’ll continue to refuse to eat them.
Make it Fun
Any time you can create a fun visual display with food you make it more desirable. Kids are naturally drawn to colorful things, so throw some bright berries on their salad. Rather than white cauliflower, buy a purple head. Serve multicolored carrots. Just make it look fun. Also, you can try giving your child smoothies with both fruits and vegetables mixed in it.
Create the Right Environment
Sitting down at the table for meals is so important. Obviously, it’s not always practical, but you should try to have a family meal at the table at least once a day. Change centerpieces frequently, put on some background music, and light your wall fireplace. They will feel like they are in a fancy restaurant. If you don’t have a wall fireplace, you can get an ethanol fireplace. They don’t require any venting.
Some kids have a more sophisticated palette. Maybe they are just bored with flavors. Experiment with seasonings to determine which ones they like.
Get Them Involved
Kids are often more likely to eat a meal they helped prepare because they have a sense of accomplishment. Even little ones can break up lettuce or pour in your measured ingredients.
Sometimes, it’s okay to have dessert. Give them something to look forward to. Keep in mind that dessert does not always have to be unhealthy either. There are plenty of healthy dessert recipes floating around the Internet for inspiration.
Photo Credit: Flickr via Creative Commons
Do you have any additional tips for dealing with a picky eater in your house?