Getting kids to eat healthy foods can be rather problematic and getting them to try new foods is even more so. However, there are a few things you can try to get them to broaden their culinary horizons. Try these 10 tricks to get your child to eat anything.
• Strike a bargain – Letting you child know that they will get to choose what they eat next if they take a bite of a particular food is one way to get them interested in eating a food they initially turned down.
• They get to dish up their own plate – Letting your child put food on their own plate is a way of letting them choose what they will eat and how much. Of course, for foods you know they love you will need to watch out for the eyes being bigger than the tummy.
• Miniaturize the food – Kids like anything that’s small, so making cute little yummy bites of a food you are trying to get them to eat may get their curiosity up.
• Hero worship – If you find out what veggies your child’s hero eats, you can use that as a reason why they should eat the same veggies. Snow White loves salad! Suddenly little Suzie loves all kinds of salads and can’t get enough.
• The “no thank you helping” – Some mothers have had success with a “no thank you helping” which is a small helping of a new food or one the kid has previously rejected. New foods are often welcomed after a little bite, and as taste buds change over time, rejected foods may become accepted.
• Start early with healthy snacks – If you start your little one on healthy snacks in the very beginning you will set up a healthy lifestyle and your child will be more likely to try new foods. Offering a variety of foods at the outset is one way to broaden a child’s outlook on food.
• Enlist your child’s help in cooking – Kids love trying out foods they’ve helped prepare. If you are going to try something new, have your kid help you in the cooking or preparation. Add in a few positive comments like, “Wow, this looks really good!” and your kid will probably be anxious to know what it tastes like.
• Dip it – Kids love dipping their food, so take advantage of this by offering healthy foods for dipping and by making a variety of healthy dipping sauces and mixtures. Fresh salsa provides great nutrients, as do dips made with yogurt or other dairy products.
• Invest in a kid’s recipe book – Getting a kid friendly recipe book with lots of pictures is another way of getting your child to explore nutritious foods without too much fuss. For the kids it is fun, but you know the food is nutritious. A good recipe book will have recipes that kids can do themselves along with recipes that will need adult supervision. It will also have a variety of meals to make – from breakfast, to snacks, to dinner and everything in between.
• Magic Dust – Some parents suggest using a small amount of “Magic Dust” sprinkled on the food. This can be either parmesan cheese or another condiment or seasoning. Just a pinch may be enough to get your little one eating.
Finding the right strategy to get your child to try new things can be fun. Like everything else with kids, realize that what worked today may not work tomorrow and visa versa. Be creative in your attempts and have fun with your kids. The table should not be a battleground for food wars, as this can cause long lasting eating problems. Offering healthy foods and making mealtime enjoyable can create the foundation for a lifestyle of healthy eating for your kids.