As any parent, babysitter, or older sibling knows, mealtime can be a battle when kids are involved. Many children refuse to eat certain foods for no apparent reason, and even more prefer to eat the same foods again and again, favoring the familiar over all else. When you’re trying to make sure the kiddo in question grows up healthy and strong, this can be a major roadblock.
Below are some expert tips to aid in your mealtime battles.
Let them in on the fun.
If your kids are old enough, bring them to the grocery store with you. Have them help pick out fruits and vegetables and choose the best ones.They can help with easy food prep, such as washing the produce. When they’re a part of the process from start to finish, they’re much more likely to want to at least try the fruits of their labor.
Mix things up.
Getting a meal on the table for the whole family each day can be tough, and many of us rely on a few staple dishes to get us through the week. As often as you can, however, incorporate new meals into the rotation. Even if it’s only once a week, it will keep your children accustomed to trying new things regularly, and hopefully avoid them becoming “chicken finger and french fries” kids.
Lead by example.
In food, as in so many aspects of life, kids tend to follow the leader. If you’d like them to snack on fruits or veggies, make sure they see you doing so and enjoying it! They’re bound to get curious about those carrot sticks or apple slices sooner or later.
Make mealtimes a relaxing–and distraction free–time.
It’s important that everyone feels at ease when eating a meal, both to ensure they eat proper amounts, and for optimal digestion. The best way to achieve this is by intentionally making mealtimes an opportunity for your family to be together, and unhurried. While this is easier said than done, simply turning off the TV and not bringing cell phones or toys to the table make a huge difference.
Mix the new and the unfamiliar.
When introducing new foods to your children, it can be helpful to add them in small amounts to dishes or meals that are familiar to them, and which they already like. This also helps you avoid facing the question of whether or not to make an additional meal if a child refuses to eat, since they’ll still have something they enjoy. Adding new veggies to pasta dishes or smoothies, or as a side dish to their favorite entree, can make dinnertime a whole lot easier.
Add in some kid-friendly vitamins.
Even the best eaters can still fall short of the vitamins their growing bodies need. Make sure your child has their nutritional requirements met by adding one of our kid-friendly supplements to their daily routine.
While almost all children will express some picky-eating tendencies from time to time, there are plenty of tools caretakers can use to ensure that those kids get all the nutrients they need to grow into healthy, happy adults.