Got picky eaters? Try these tips on how to get your kids to eat better.
Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash
As you raise your children, you try to remember how they got to be such picky eaters. Although it’s common for children to be picky, that habit doesn’t have to be instilled in your child. Now sometimes, it’s pretty obvious that certain foods you give your child they just don’t like but there are certain foods that your children do like but they would rather have ice cream for dinner instead of what you prepared… that’s being picky and it’s a habit you have to break but it’s not going to be an easy habit to break.
Most of the time, kids are picky because it’s something they learned. Again, there are certain foods they just don’t like but there are also certain foods they don’t like because their friends don’t like them or because you made the mistake and said out loud that you don’t eat a particular food… the bottom line is that it’s a learned behavior, outside of genuinely not liking a food. So, as a parent, what you need to do is reverse those learned behaviors. Here’s how to do it.
Have your kids help you prepare meals
One of the quickest ways to get your kids to eat the food that is prepared, regardless of what it is, is to get them in the kitchen to help prepare it themselves. This will make them feel needed, it will make them feel like they’re serving a purpose and it will just give them a sense of pride for helping contribute to the family meal.
There are lots of people out there who think that only older people need to feel a sense of purpose because they’ve gotten older and their children are grown… That does make elderly seniors feel that way at times but need a sense of purpose is needed by everyone… it’s what gives people the strength to get up every morning and kids need to feel it too… They need to feel like what they do matters, according to KQED News.
This is also something that you want to plan ahead for too. You want to make sure you have all the supplies needed to make cooking a breeze and you want to also make sure you’re preparing a meal that your kids will be able to really get hands-on with. An easy Italian baked chicken recipe will definitely get the kids involved and they’ll be proud of the delicious finished product.
*For this recipe, your kids’ favorite part will probably be pounding the chicken into thinner pieces*
Make a schedule for eating
This might sound a little weird to some people but according to nutritionists, kids need to eat every three to four hours. They need to be eating three meals a day with two snacks in between those three meals and they need to be drinking lots of water. This can be a little difficult when you’re a busy mom but one of the best tricks to mastering this is to keep a cooler in your car.
In your cooler, you can keep things like water and juice as well as carrots, yogurt, and fruit snacks to prevent you from stopping at a fast-food restaurant for snacks. You have to remember that kids aren’t like adults. We oftentimes skip meals for various reasons but your kids can’t do that… that’s the number one cause for them to be cranky.
Prepare meals for the family, not individuals
In other words, you’re not a short-order cook. This is actually a habit that’s so easy to slip into but you have to get out of the habit. How many times have you prepared a meal for you and your husband and then prepared a meal that you know you and your kids would enjoy? You’ve probably done it before and quickly realized how exhausting it was. The key to this dilemma is to prepare a meal and serve it up family-style.
The key to success with this is that everyone will be partaking in the same exact meal. Kids tend to mimic their parents anyway so when they see you putting broccoli on your plate, they’ll more than likely ask you to pass the broccoli to them too. Also, this might not be ideal for you but kids love ketchup. If you’re serving a meal that there’s a possibility your kid may turn their face up to, a good trick is to have ketchup sitting on the table.
If your kid eats a veggie that they don’t like, tell them to try it with ketchup… ketchup always makes things better. It may not be the way you want them to eat their food but hey, at least they’re getting the necessary food and nutrients in their bodies, even if it’s covered in ketchup.
Don’ be the food police
This will probably be the hardest part for you. As the parent, you’ve done your part by preparing a well-balanced meal… now you just have to let your kids do the eating. As hard as it may be to not tell your kids to eat their vegetables, you have to try to not say anything because if you do, it will only make them not want to eat them. Just play it cool and no police their plate. You might be surprised at the results of doing this.