Every mother goes out of her way to ensure that her child eats healthy and nutritious foods. However, making kids eat healthy food can be quite a nightmare. The very sight of spinach or other nutritious vegetables gives kids cold feet. They resort to every possible excuse (such as faking a stomach ache) to maintain a distance from nutritious and healthy homemade foods. Their heart longs for pizza, burgers, fries, and other tempting but unhealthy foods. However, with a little effort and creativity, you can make mealtime hassle-free and more enjoyable for your toddler.
1. Get the tiny hands involved in the kitchen
Be it gardening or cooking, most kids love to lend a helping hand to their parents and feel involved. Getting your child into kitchen chores (such as passing on the spices and chopped vegetables, laying the table) can work wonders. Seek your toddler's opinion before you select a menu or while zeroing upon the vegetables to be used in a dish. Appreciate your child for the hard work and tell everyone how much of a help he/she has been. You may not have immediate success. But with time, your toddler will feel more involved and will soon start enjoying the meal.
2. Don't prepare separate food for your toddler
Most of the time, a toddler creates a fuss while having their food because they know that the elders of the house are going to enjoy a better and tastier meal. If you want your child to eat healthy foods, make sure to prepare the same food for everyone and have at least one meal together, including your toddler so that your child knows that the whole family is going to eat the same boring food. This realization will go a long way to ensure that your toddler is less fussy while eating the food you make.
3. Pamper your child once in a while
Preparing the same food every day (in spite of being healthy) can bore your child and make them lose interest in that particular dish. Thus, once in a while, you can pamper them with french fries, cake, or pizza. However, instead of buying readymade foods, you can prepare their favorite dish at home. A homemade burger or a pizza will be a lot healthier and safer than the ones you buy outside. In addition to keeping the child happy, you can also make the necessary healthy modifications in the food as per your convenience.
4. Make the food eye-pleasing
A toddler often runs away from healthy foods because the food looks dull and boring. Thus, in the case of toddlers, you need to play the game a little creatively. Make a healthy dish but present it in a tempting and creative way. Most toddlers eat what satisfies their eyes rather than their taste buds. For example, vegetable puree is a boring dish for most kids. However, garnishing the same with nuts, seeds, and cherries can go a long way to make the dish more presentable to your kids. Similarly, you can cut the fruits in various shapes and pattern (such as a birds, caterpillars, and rabbits to name a few) and watch your toddler finish the same within seconds.
5. Explain rather than bribe
Many parents make their toddlers eat healthy foods in return for a beautiful and tempting gift. While bribing the child may make the struggle easy for you, it may not be beneficial for the kid in the long run. Instead, try explaining the importance of healthy foods in our lives. You can take them to a farm or a fruit orchard to make it more interesting for them.
6. Patience is the key to success
With toddlers, you cannot afford to be impatient. Making the child eat healthy food is indeed a Herculean task. No matter how much you try, they will test your patience. Failures will be there but don't lose your patience and focus. Sooner or later, your endeavors will pay dividends leaving you in all smiles.
If you’re struggling with this, don’t lose heart yet. Eventually, your loving efforts will pay off. Your child will grow up to appreciate healthy food and lead a healthier life. The habits you start them on at a young age are the habits they keep for a lifetime!