Mealtimes can be stressful when you’re catering for a picky child. When they need fresh fruits and vegetables to be able to grow and thrive but refuse to eat them, it can put you in a tricky situation. If you’re currently facing this, luckily there are a few things you can try.
Blend it Up
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If you struggle getting your kids to eat enough fresh fruit, blending it up into a delicious smoothie can help. A good quality blender will get it nice and smooth, and you can also add lots of extras that they’ll never even know about. Spinach, carrot, even beetroot can be disguised in a smoothie with the right combination of fruits. A quick and nutritious breakfast that most kids will be happy to drink.
A tactic parents have been using since the dawn of time. You can get in plenty of the good stuff into your kids diets without them even realising if you prepare dishes in the right way. For example, you could chop vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, onions and courgettes very finely. Mix this in with ground meat for a variety of dishes like lasagne or spaghetti bolognese. Once it’s cooked and flavoured with herbs and spices, everything blends together, and you can’t even tell it’s there. Having a good food processor or vegetable slicer is helpful here, they make light work of what is an otherwise time-consuming task.
Encourage Healthy Snacking
If you don’t have unhealthy ‘treats’ in your home, then your child knows that these are never an option. Then when they’re hungry, they will automatically reach for the good stuff instead. Small packs of raisins or dried fruit, fresh fruit and things like carrot and celery sticks dipped in hummus are good choices. If your child knows that there’s some other tasty and forbidden treat in the house, they will always want this over healthier options. So to make your life easier, just don’t buy it. This way your child will learn the art of healthy snacking when they’re hungry. Rather than develop cravings sugary or salty snacks, and wanting to eat just because they taste nice.
Lead by Example
Loading up your own plate with a rainbow of healthy foods will encourage your child to do the same. While most children will go through a picky phase, in time they are likely to go on to mirror your behaviour when it comes to food. Teaching them what’s good and what they should be eating by doing so yourself if your best option. Having family meals together and making it a fun and relaxing environment is also helpful for promoting good attitudes around food.
Don’t Give Up
Even if your child has previously refused, certain foods don’t give up. Come back to them again at a later date; they might be more open to trying and liking them in the future, or their tastes could have changed. Gentle encouragements or offering them other (healthy) alternatives can be helpful. Forcing food choices on them can be stressful for children, and so remaining patient with the process is essential.
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