My children drive me insane with their “I don’t like this” and “I don’t like that”. I spend a great deal of time and effort purchasing healthy foods and turning them into wholesome meals. Unfortunately my children ages 4 and 3, have no problem turning their nose away at something and declaring they don’t like it based on the smell, taste, texture, colour, or just their mood that day. My daughter literally sniffs anything that is new or looks new and she requires a lot of persuasion to try something new. My son although alot better than his sister when it comes to eating, is still not great. He is rather picky as well. Can I blame them? No. Whynot? Because their mother is still quite a picky eater herself.
Because I am a picky eater, I totally understand my children’s refusual to try new things. However, I still want them to get the nutrition that they need to grow healthy and strong. I have become rather sneaky in that I sneak in everything that my children claim is “YUCK!” into their diet. I don’t want to have to fight with my children at the dinner table over eating what is on their plate so I have come up with clever ways for them to enjoy their meal while getting all the nutrition that they need.
Here are some tips to help your children eat their fruits and veggies:
1. Make juices and smoothies.
Smoothies are so easy to prepare. What goes in the smoothies? All the fruits that my children don’t like, which at the time-being includes but is not limited to watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, mango, and banana.
2. Puree vegetables into tomato sauce.
My children both claim that they do not like tomatoes, but they love pizza and pasta with tomato sauce. To make regular tomato sauce more nutritious, I add pureed broccoli, zuchinni, and cauliflower to it. To this day I haven’t had any complaints.
3. Make vegetable mashed potatoes.
My kids get to choose between, green, orange, white, and pink mashed potatoes. They think I add food colouring, but what I really add is pureed vegetables to potatoes. Green mashed potatoes is made with broccoli, orange is made with sweet potatoes or carrots, pink is made with beets, and white is made with cauliflower.
4. Make popsicles.
My daughter hates bananas, and many other fruits. During the warmer months, I make popsicles with fresh pureed fruits. This is also a great way to get your yogurt-hating child to eat some yogurt. Thankfully yogurt is one of the few things both my children love!
5. Make meals fun.
This takes some time but I find that when I present meals in a creative way, my children are more inclined to eat them. I have many cookie cutters which I use to cut fun shapes out of foods. For example, I cut daisies out of cucumbers and animal shapes out of sandwiches.
6. Make muffins.
Carrot and zuchinni muffins, banana muffins with raisins and nuts, and oatmeal muffins, are regulars in my home. I make muffins almost every week and my children happily eat them because they cannot see or taste all the ingredients that they dislike.
7. Add flavour to milk.
My daughter went through a phase where she claimed she didn’t milk anymore. It took her nearly an hour to drink 1 cup of milk. To help her drink milk, I started blending her milk with fruit such banana, strawberries, or mango. Fortunately my daughter has passed that phase. She now loves milk, especially with cereal.
If you have picky eaters, you know how hard it can be to get them to eat a well-balanced meal. I hope some of these tips help avoid meal-time battles with your picky eaters.
– It is important to keep in mind that when giving your children new foods, they might not like it initially but may grow to like it after a few tries.
– Eating should be an enjoyable experience. Avoid uttering threats of punishment as a means of getting your children to eat their fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that this could result in children developing unhealthy eating habits and attitudes towards foods later in life.
– Children are more prone to eat things that they have helped make. Allow your children to help in the cooking process by letting them measure or stir.