Keeping children fed with the right nutrients is crucial for their physical and mental growth. Fussy eaters can make this a challenge, but it is not insurmountable with the right approach to food.
This article gives some tips for getting children to eat healthily – and enjoy it!
Make mealtimes a focal point.
Getting together as a family at mealtimes may seem like a trivial thing, but it can make a lot of difference. Sitting your youngest children down with you will get them used to eating the same way as the rest of the family, creating a positive start.
Homeschool kids’ meals also allow you to set positive vibes with your food and encourage everyone to try everything on their plate. You can also do sharing meals to foster discussion about different tastes and sauces.
As well as healthy eating, this environment can help kids build conversational skills and stay focused during meals. Set mealtimes also reduce the desire for unhealthy snacking during the day, reducing kids’ sugar and fat intake.
Your house is not a restaurant.
Although it can be difficult if a child refuses to eat what is on their plate, try to avoid cooking up a new meal. If this becomes a habit, your child will get to know that and simply hold out for one of their favorite foods every mealtime.
Instead, stick to your guns safe in the knowledge that your child will eat when they are hungry. Give them smaller portions and top up their plate if they eat it all – this is better than overloading their plate, making it seem a little daunting.
Encourage them to look at the color and to experiment with the different textures on their plate. Show them that it is nice to eat combinations of foods together, such as meat with green beans or pizza and salad.
If at first, you don’t succeed….
Just because a child has rejected a food before does not mean you should not make it again. Try it with a different side dish such as vegetables or salad to add color and variety. You can also soup it with some sauces – but go easy on those with high sugar levels or too much cream. Olive oil or balsamic vinegar is perfect for healthier dressings.
Above all, try to make mealtimes an inclusive, enjoyable time. For example, get your kids involved in choosing the vegetables they want with their dinner. Better still, if possible, let them help you choose them with you in the store. The bright colors and shapes can provide a stimulus to taste them when they are on their dinner plate later on.