As a mom, tips for picky eaters can save precious time and sanity. When everyone in the family likes different types of food, it can be easy to give up, order pizza, and feel bad for not cooking a meal. You can teach your kids to enjoy healthy, nutritious, well-balanced meals without forcing it down their throats! With these tips for picky eaters, you can spend less time in the kitchen, coaxing one bite of sugarcoated carrots into your toddler’s mouth, and more time playing together before bed!
Here’s one of my tips for picky eaters that works like a charm. Veggies aren’t appealing to everyone, so instead of fighting all night to get your kid to eat his green beans, you can “hide” them in his food! All you need to do is puree any veggie of your choice. You can add pureed veggies to sauces, soups, casseroles, pastas, and much more. I puree 3 or more vegetables, fresh, frozen or canned and add it to nearly any dish. So far, my family has been none the wiser!
Snacking is a big cause for “picky eaters”. When kids fill up on sugar and carbs all day, they aren’t hungry for nutritious foods, let alone a full meal. Stop allowing large snacks between meals, and nip grazing in the bud. Leave light and healthy snacks out like a serving of fruit or veggies with dip and string cheese. You will see how your children are magically “hungry” by dinnertime!
It’s okay to have sugar every once in a while. We all love to indulge! But don’t send a message that dessert is the “best” food. Redefine dessert as yogurt with fruit in it, or chocolate dipped strawberries. That way if your kids don’t clean their plate and want dessert, they will get nutrients and not feel deprived.
That’s right, turn off the TV! Take away any phones or toys when at the dinner table. Distractions are one of the big reasons kids are “full” before they finish their food. Toys and TV shows will be there after dinner, so make it easy for your kiddos to focus on eating their dinner.
Kids are more apt to eat a full meal and enjoy it when dinner is a family affair. It may not always be possible due to work schedules, but when you can make family dinner happen, then strive for it! At least be consistent about the time dinner is served, and have your kids sit at the table instead of the couch.
Don’t make meal time something your children dread! Food can be fun AND healthy. Let your kids help pick out and prepare meals for each week. By letting them help, you can make food fun. For small children, arrange food on their plate in the shape of a smiley face or a cute animal to bring a smile to their face!
When you have junk food in the house, you and your kids will both reach for it. Do a purge, and toss out candy, junk food, soda, and sweets. Now re-stock with healthy snacks, like fruit, veggies, string cheese, whole-wheat crackers, yogurt, granola, nuts, or raisins. You could keep one or two “reward” items to have on the weekends if you aren’t ready to completely cut out sugar.
You don’t always have to follow a recipe to a T. If you have a picky eater, try modifying recipes a bit to suit their taste buds better. Add an ingredient or take one out. And you can always substitute! Tweak a recipe to be healthier. Use whole grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, and whole grain rice instead of white breads and pastas. Add a veggie to any dish to make it more nutritious. Experiment till you find what works for your family!
My final tip for getting your picky eaters to enjoy their food is by setting a good example. Eat healthy and wholesome foods in front of your children. Talk about how yummy they taste and how big and strong veggies help you to grow. When your kids see you eating healthy, they are more likely to follow suit!
Picky eaters have often been the undoing of a busy mom. When you’ve worked all day, the last thing you want to do is come home and cook four different meals to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. These tips can help you get on the right track to helping your children make better food choices that will help them create a healthy lifestyle now and down the road! Please comment below if you have your own tips to share for helping picky eaters overcome their food moods.
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