Parenting tricks are always handy, especially when it comes to satisfying picky eaters. Here are a few ideas that may help your kids decide that healthy foods aren’t so bad after all.
1. Grow a Garden
Kids love digging in the dirt, and yours may find it fascinating to track a plant’s growth. Use this to your advantage and start a garden for your kitchen. You could grow herbs to make dishes more flavorful. You could also choose some vegetables that will do well in your climate. Allow your children to help plant and tend the garden. Their interest in the plants will make them curious about the flavors of the herbs and vegetables. They will also feel the satisfaction of being able to grow their own food, and they will take pride in the dishes prepared with “their” garden foods.
2. Set a Good Example
Your kids watch what you eat very closely. If you don’t eat your vegetables, neither will they. Make sure that your plate is colored with a variety of vegetables, and they will be more likely to show interest in trying what you are eating. Use positive language to describe your dinner, and try to stay away from negative phrases, such as “Yuck” or “Gross”. When you eat a snack, let your kids see you eating nuts, produce or yogurt instead of chips or cookies. Practice moderation so that your children learn that indulgences are to be enjoyed in small amounts. As a parent, you are a role model, and they will learn by watching your actions.
3. Get Them Involved
Even if you can’t grow a garden, your children can still be involved in the family’s kitchen. Give them choices about which healthy dishes they would like to try. Allow them to be involved in the process, beginning with making the shopping list. They can also accompany you to the store to help you get the items that you need. With your supervision, your kids can even help you prepare the meal. Their involvement might make them more willing to try new dishes, and it will broaden their ideas about what can be done with food.
4. Make It Fun
Entertainment is fundamental for children. If it doesn’t capture their interest, they won’t want to do it. Food is the same way, so entice your kids by making healthy foods fun. Cut produce into fun shapes, or use the food to make pictures on their plates. Give foods funny names so that they don’t sound so grown up. Your kids could start asking for a fun food simply because they enjoy saying the funny name.
Above all, be patient and stay calm. It will take time for your children‘s preferences to change, but if you stick with it, your kids will adapt to their new healthy diet.