Having picky eaters at home can make every meal stressful for the entire family. I always wanted my kids to be healthy eaters, but it’s so difficult to enforce when you have a screaming toddler sitting across from you. For the longest time, I let my kids decide what they wanted to eat because it was so much easier than arguing. I finally got fed up and realized the problem will only get worse. But how do you convince your kids to eat broccoli instead of mac and cheese? After lots of discussion with my friends and family, I’ve developed 3 steps to encourage picky eaters to make healthier choices.
1. Invite your kids grocery shopping
Okay, I get it – taking the kids grocery shopping may seem counter-productive. But, by letting them tag along, they can be involved in the decision of what’s on their plate. While shopping in the produce section, encourage them to try new fruits and veggies! Let them feel the texture, smell them, or the sounds they make. Ask them what they think about those items, and what they think they may or may not like about them. This will not only open up their senses but hopefully help them maintain open-mindedness.
2. Encourage your child to join you in preparing dinner
When you’re making dinner, ask your kiddos to help you. While prepping and cooking, let them sample all of the ingredients. Make sure you allow them to try to things together so they know how it will taste when dinner is ready. Encourage them to help you mix, gather ingredients, or whatever else you’re comfortable with them doing. Making them a part of the process of making what’s going to be on their plate will make them excited and more likely to eat without any arguments.
3. Make it a Game!
There’s no doubt that kids LOVE games, right? So try to make some extra time before dinner to create a guessing game. Have your kiddos taste different spices or herbs and guess which part of the meal it will be in. You can even try blindfolding them and have them guess what the ingredients are. This will not only get them more used to these spices and foods but will introduce them in a less confrontational way.
Encouraging your kids to eat healthier is not only better for their health, but also helps them become more open-minded. As much as you might want them to just eat whatever is in front of them, that’s not always realistic. What are some of your tips to encourage picky eaters to make healthier choices? Leave your comments below!