- Eat meals together. I know this sounds so simple, but studies have shown that children who frequently eat together as a family have shown better nutritional intake of calcium, fiber, iron, B6, B12, C, and E, as well as consuming higher portion of fruits and vegetables. Add to that a decreased risk for unhealthy weight and substance abuse later in life and there's some motivation and inspiration for family dinner night! Read more on this here.
- Set a good example by making healthier choices and be open to trying new things! Children tend to mimic their parents eating habits and views on food as well. If you cook at home you'll not only have better control of what goes in the food and portion control but your little one will witness that you value healthy eating. Trying something new should be an experience for the whole family to taste and will open plenty of opportunities to new cuisine and cultures!
- Involve your child in meal planning. Children don't have much power in their lives and that's why refusing to eat something can be how they will flex their muscles. But let's change this around to a positive note and have THEM choose what they will eat in the fruit and veggie aisle. Bring them with you to the supermarket so they can see the many different types of foods available to them and touch them too. Sometimes a cool texture or weird shape may inspire them to create with it!
- This goes right along with #3 but involve them in the preparation of a meal too! When kids get involved in the meal prep they feel proud and will not only eat it themselves but push other family members to eat more as well. Some children may be too little to chop up veggies but shucking corn or simply holding open the garbage can lid while you're chopping can be the highlight of their meals. Something as simple as having them mix instant pudding for dessert will make them eager to clear their plate for the next course. Make sure to praise them for their hard work, remind everyone at the table (within earshot) that they helped with the meal, and make sure to comment on how great it tastes!
- Be patient. With changing hormones, growth spurts, and tummy aches comes days where children just don't have a big appetite or where they just aren't in the mood to try a new food. Always make an offer to try new things but don't push too hard or they may link negativity with a certain type of food. Just offer it again another time and remember that it may take more than one time of introduction before your child will try or even admit to liking a new food!
- When all else fails, change it up. Sometimes children need something fun to add to the boring old meal and dipping sauce or fun colors added to mashed potatoes or other side dishes may add just the dash of fun to the meal. Dipping sauce is magical to a child's mind and will often add a familiar flavor to a new taste that offers comfort to them. If you've ever heard of the muffin tin trick then you'll already familiar with this concept. You haven't heard of the muffin tin meal? Click here.
- Cut down on in between meal snacks and heavy liquids. Often children fill up in between meals on milk or juice or even snack enough to replace a full meal. Cut down on large snacks in between meals or limit snack portion sizes to make sure that your child will be hungry at meal time. Cut out milk and juice in between meals and offer water instead so that they don't fill their tummy before a meal and so they don't fill their caloric intake with high sugar liquids.
- Still have a picky eater who's not getting their servings of fruits and vegetables each day? There are many alternative supplements that can be mixed into other food or even smoothies to ensure they are getting their daily requirement of fruits and vegetables. Here at AlignLife we have a supplement called Absolute Greens that can be added to water, a smoothie, or even a pudding they helped prepare to make sure they're getting their daily dose. 1 Scoop will do ya for a day!! Click here for more info or to order!
Find some great recipes below: