Kids Love to Help their Parents…
By Alex McMahon, Holistic Nutritionist
One of the best parts of my job as a teacher was helping children develop healthier habits around food. Parents were always surprised at the foods that their child would eat in class, that they wouldn’t touch at home.
Quickly I became the resource for parents who had picky eaters, and while every child is unique, the principles that helped picky eaters remained the same.
My secret weapon was to always engage the children’s interest first. Second ask questions and let kids draw their own conclusions using empowering language that encourages them to think. Lastly be more concerned with the process than controlling every detail. Making sure the child has fun is more important in the long run than having a perfect looking or tasting food.
10 tips for parents to help kids break out of picky eating.
- Relate their interests to foods you would like them to eat. Help them connect vegetables to superheroes or Dora The Explorer if that is what they enjoy.
- Kids love to help their parents. Invite them to help you prepare food in the kitchen.
- Use your imagination to frame a new food differently. A kale salad with carrots and purple onions OR a green leafy sea with orange and purple creatures swimming in it, which sounds more fun ?
- Letting kids play with their foods allows them to inject creativity and develop a fun culture around food.
- Take your child on a “mini field trip” to the grocery store. Make a fruit and vegetable scavenger list. Let your child pick three new items from the produce section and ask the produce clerk to sample them.
- Only put out healthy options, and allow the child to pick their own snack/meal. The kids will feel empowered and like their opinion is valued.
- Be patient. Sometimes a child has to be exposed or around a new food many times before trying the new food. It is a process, be patient.
- Provide praise of any progress. If your child is willing to touch a new food, that is progress! give them praise to create positive associations around that food.
- Have an eating routine, and stick to it. Serve meals and snacks at the same time everyday.
- 10.) Respect your child’s appetite. Don’t force a meal or snack it will create anxiety around food.
Check out this Banana Rolls Recipe with step-by-step instructions on how to cook with kids. Call us at 503-288-7668 to book a 15-minute complimentary Nutrition consultation to see how this could work for you and your family.