Being a parent, it’s our default setting to get frustrated when our child does not eat well or binges too much on junk food. Like most things, this phase of your child does not pass and certainly does not get any easier! However, there are a few tricks and approaches you can follow to make sure your child is getting healthy nutrition in their system.
Since parenthood did not come with a manual, we need to design a game plan. And when it comes to improving our child’s poor eating habits, we have to give everything that we’ve got.
Camouflage the taste
One foolproof way to make your child eat vegetables and fruits is to camouflage the taste of it by adding a little bit of tastier food (read ‘not so healthy’). We as adults still cringe at the sight of plain-looking vegetables, so why should we expect our children to down them without any resistance? Hence, to increase the aesthetics of healthy food, we can make it look more delicious. For instance, making a crafty cut work out of an apple and adding maple syrup on top or dipping the broccoli in a homemade cheese sauce can make the food more appealing. Children also seem to respond well to a peanut butter shake, and by adding bananas and pineapples, it’s a win-win situation for all.
Involving kids in grocery shopping
Adults or children, we all enjoy a trip to the grocery store where we can endlessly browse for ingredients that would make the perfect meal. Likewise, if kids get to pick and choose the kind of food item they want to prepare, they will be more enthusiastic to eat it. Obviously, they will be more inclined to go towards the candy section. In this situation, parents can gently remind them that for every candy they get they have to pick a healthy option as well.
For instance, if they pick chocolates, they need to find a vegetable or fruit that would go well with it, such as chocolate-dipped strawberries. That would surely get them excited, and this food hunting can turn out as a little game for them. Also, this way they will feel more empowered about what they eat.
Set an example.
Children are naturally inclined to mimic the behavior of their environment. Take this opportunity to set an example in the house by modeling a positive attitude towards healthy food. Make sure there are a variety of options for novel and nutritious food at every mealtime. Especially when kids see their older cousins or siblings reaching out for a healthy snack, they are more likely to imitate them. Additionally, make sure to praise them whenever they opt for nutritious food regardless of how small that portion is.
Focus on nibbling and munching
By nibbling, your child consumes food in smaller quantities throughout the day. It works by offering your child fun foods, for example, carrot and celery sticks with a dip of their choice. So if your child does not eat their veggies at mealtime, they can fulfill their necessary vitamins and mineral intake through nibbling and munching. Also, if your child refuses to drink milk, offering him crisps and a yogurt dip can fulfill their calcium intake.
In the light of the above tips, parents can try to implement and improvise whatever works best for their kids. There need not be a structure and a system for everything since that leads to monotony which, in turn, bores the kids. The key is to switch things up and make sure you are not forcing your kids to down healthy food only. Let them take the ropes in preparing their meals. If they think it’s their idea, they will most likely want to follow through with it.