Healthy Food Shouldn’t Be a Chore – Creative Ways to Get Your Picky Eater to Try Something New.
As our understanding of nutrition and healthy eating has grown, so too has our appreciation for all the benefits that come with a balanced diet. We know that eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can support our overall health and energy levels, help us maintain a healthy weight, and reduce our risk for many chronic illnesses.
Unfortunately, getting kids to eat healthily can be a real challenge. Picky eaters can be particularly stubborn when it comes to trying new foods, which can leave parents at a loss for what to do. However, with a little creative thinking, it’s possible to get even the most picky eaters on board with a healthy diet. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Make it fun: Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland and boring. Get creative with your cooking and presentation to make healthy foods more exciting for your kids. Cut fruits and veggies into fun shapes, use colorful plates, or create a “rainbow plate” where each color represents a different food group.
2. Involve them in the cooking process: When kids help prepare their own meals, they’re more likely to eat what’s on their plate. Encourage your kids to help with meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. Give them age-appropriate tasks, like washing vegetables or stirring a pot, so they feel invested in the process.
3. Sneak in nutrients: If your kids are resistant to certain foods, try adding them to familiar dishes in creative ways. For example, puree veggies like cauliflower or squash and use them to thicken soups or sauces. Add spinach or kale to smoothies or muffins. When your kids see that they like the taste of something, they may be more willing to try it on its own.
4. Build on their likes: If your child loves pizza, consider making homemade pizzas with healthy toppings like veggies and lean proteins. If they love spaghetti, try making zucchini noodles or sweet potato noodles as a healthy alternative to traditional pasta. Building on your child’s favorite flavors and textures can help them feel more comfortable experimenting with new foods.
5. Don’t force it: While it can be frustrating when your child refuses to eat what you’ve prepared, it’s important not to force them to eat something they don’t want to. Forcing can backfire and create negative associations with new foods. Instead, encourage your child to try a bite or two and offer praise for their efforts. Over time, they may become more willing to try new things.
Healthy food shouldn’t be a chore, and with a little creativity, you can make it a fun and exciting part of your child’s life. Encouraging healthy habits from a young age can set them up for a lifetime of good health and wellbeing.