10 Sep Are you unknowingly promoting your child’s picky eating habits?
The topic of food doesn’t need to be a struggle. Here’s how you can avoid those making common mistakes that could cause your child to be a picky eater.
Set the example
Be concious of the way you are with food and how you nourish your body around your child. Your attitude towards the right types of foods will set the example for your child. There is nothing more valuable than teaching kids about the wonderful things that food can do for our bodies. Get them inspired by the colours and powers of different nutrients and through this they will be more likely to appreciate the value of a good diet as they grow up.
The old ‘what you’re given’ technique
This is a long debated method, but I am a great believer that as soon as your child knows that they can treat you as a short-order cook they will be overwhelmed with freedom, and will never adapt to appreciate foods which are perhaps healthier for them. As long as you are providing tasty and nutritionally sound meals then there should be no reason why you need to make something different for your child. Have patience and encourage your child to stay with you at the table during meal time, even if they choose not to eat what you have made. Immediately offering to make them something separate to what the rest of the family are eating will undoubtedly promote picky eating.
Do not offer dessert as a reward
Most of us are of the mindset that withholding dessert is an effective way to get our kids to eat their veggies. However, doing so only confirms the dessert as the best part of the meal, thus making it more desirable. It’s no wonder that most kids dislike vegetables when they are subconciously portrayed as the obstacle to scramble over before reaching the dessert trophy. Try to paint fruit and vegetables in the same light as sweets.
Get creative if you have to
The beauty of the healthiest food is that they are naturally so colourful! And what child doesn’t adore a good rainbow? Get them involved in the kitchen and create some colourful plates that they’ll love. Similarly, if you child is already fussy with vegetables you can get creative by cutting up vegetables into pasta sauces that they like, blending veggies into soups and making fruit smoothies to make sure they consume enough of those essential nutrients.
Recruit their help
Help them explore the mountians of different types of fruit and vegetables by joining you at the market or supermarket. Let them choose which vegetables they would like to buy and then, depending on their age, you can figure out some recipes together. They will feel so much more comfortable with food as it will be an enjoyable activity from which they will feel more in control over what they eat.
Don’t put all the focus on taste
Talk about the colours, textures and smells of as many fruits and veggies that you can. Have fun with them!
Keeping mealtimes at a similar time each day will mean that your child’s appetite adjusts accordingly. If they are actually hungry, they will be much more willing to try new foods. Also, keep TV and other distractions to a minimum and preferably away from the table.
Step by step you can alter the view your child has about food. If you are at all worried about your child’s growth and development, make sure you see a doctor.
Written by Kelly Lindsey Abel