Cooking meals that all the family will eat can be a struggle at the best of times. Throw picky kids into the mix, and it can be extremely stressful. We all know kids need good foods to grow and thrive- fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. But what happens when they’re refusing, and you’re just about sick of watching them push food around their plate? Here’s how you can get more of the good stuff into their diet.
Blend It Up
Blending fruits and vegetables is a quick, easy and delicious way to get more nutrients into your child’s diet (as well as yours!) Even picky eaters will generally enjoy a fruit smoothie, they’re also good for people who aren’t big eaters or struggle with traditional breakfast food in the morning. Add a frozen banana for creaminess, some berries and then add almond milk or orange juice until it all comes together. You might even be able to sneak a few veggies in there without them noticing. The key is to get it super smooth, a good quality blender is essential for this. Any lumps and bumps are sure to be complained at by picky eaters! If you’re finding that fruit and vegetables don’t agree with your child, you could try a medicine like nofenol. This helps children who have a hard time digesting them, and without negative symptoms after eating you may find they’re much more open to trying them. Be aware that while they’re healthy, fruit juices and smoothies are high in natural sugars which can be damaging to teeth. So giving them as a meal rather than letting them sip over the day is important to prevent sugar sitting on the teeth.
Learn to Cook
When you cook meals yourself, you have full control as to what you put in them. When excess salt, sugar, and fat is bad enough for us, it’s particularly damaging for growing young bodies. Convenience foods and takeaways can be full of the stuff, so cooking from scratch is always best. Plus when you cook yourself you can sneak vegetables in when no-one is looking, a trick parents have been using since the dawn of time. Use a food processor to finely chop a range of veggies and mix them in with minced meat- once it’s all cooked and seasoned, you can’t tell the difference. This can then be used in a variety of dishes.
Promote Healthy Snacking
The art of healthy snacking is something parents should teach their children. When healthy foods are on offer, children learn to snack when they’re hungry and not just because they want a treat. All of us can nibble on chocolate, biscuits, and crisps whether we’re hungry or not- craving these things doesn’t indicate hunger. When you’re offering fresh or dried fruit, or chopped veggies dipped in hummus for example kids won’t mindlessly eat these things just for the taste. Snacks are an important part of a healthy eating plan, so having the right foods on offer will work wonders. Refuse to keep unhealthy treats in the home, that way kids don’t feel like these ‘naughty’ forbidden foods are just out of their grasp and will come to associate hunger with healthy, wholesome ingredients.
Lead by Example
The best way to encourage your child to eat healthily is to lead by example. Most children will go through a picky phase, but in time they’re likely to go on to mirror your behavior when it comes to food (and everything else, actually). Eat as a family and keep mealtimes as relaxing and stress-free as possible. Put the right kind of foods on offer and allow them to eat until they’re full. Along with sufficient exercise, they should never go on to develop weight issues or other problems with food.