Most children are either picky eaters or fussy eaters. They either are very choosy about what they eat or they just can’t decide if they like a dish or not. All parents want is for their little ones to eat right and grow up to be healthy, happy and strong. But how will they grow up to be all healthy if they refuse to eat fruit and vegetables? Here’s how you can get them to really enjoy the food you prepare for them without making a fuss:
1. Get them involved
Start growing fresh vegetables in your garden and teach your kids how to look after them. Let them know how delicious they would be after growing them organically in your own garden. Once they are ready to harvest, have your kids to come along with you to pluck them out and cook them. When kids get involved in how the vegetable and fruit are grown and finally cooked, they tend to enjoy it more. They would gradually develop a preference for fresh produce rather than processed food or fast food. You could even take them to a farm to expose them to a variety of fruits and vegetables.
2. Make the food sound interesting
Whenever you make a dish that you feel your child may not like, just make it sound fascinating. For example, instead of saying, “Try out these ragi parathas. They are super healthy.” you could say, “Ooh! Yum! These parathas taste amazing with the tomato curry you helped me make.” This would increase his curiosity for trying out this new dish and he might just have a second helping!
3. Mindless snacking
Place a big bowl of fruit on the dining table and keep all junk food out of sight and reach. Quietly place a bowl of cut fruit or vegetable salad or a glass of fresh fruit juice in front of them while they are watching TV or finishing up homework. Drop a box full of healthy snacks like baby carrots, apple slices or a bunch of grapes in the backseat of your car when going out for a drive. Then, sit back and watch as your child automatically starts gobbling up these snacks without even thinking.
Added bonus: If you avoid buying junk food and replace them with nutritious food that is tasty, your child would have no other option but to eat all those healthy goodies.
4. What they don’t know won’t hurt them
Serve them a bowl of their favourite pasta with cheese and vegetables. Only, replace the white pasta with brown pasta and don’t even bother mentioning to them that you changed something. They may not even notice it. If your child is sensitive to taste, however, you could gradually make the switch over by mixing the healthier brown pasta with the regular white one. Eventually, you can start giving them the brown pasta itself and soon enough they wouldn’t even like the taste of white pasta as much.
5. Eat together as a family
The best way to get your child to finish everything on his/her plate is to sit together at meal time. Serve the same food to everyone at the table and then start discussing your day. Keep the conversation flowing and ask everyone at the table how their day went. This will encourage them to engage in conversation and they won’t even realise how all the food on their plate is now over. Also, make it a point to appear to enjoy your meal as you eat so they would want to eat it too.
Do try out these tricks and let us know how they worked for you. Share it with all the mothers and children you care about! :)