Most parents are no stranger to a child with very discerning taste. This refined palette is typically limited to pizza and chicken nuggets, however. Picky eaters can leave parents feeling frustrated when it comes to ensuring their child is getting the nutrition they need to grow up healthy and strong. The solution is not to force the children to sit at the table until they eat their broccoli. The following tips offer parents a way to get their children to eat healthier without engaging in constant conflict.
Children Crave Structure
The first step parents should take is to put children on a regular schedule for meals and snacks. Often, children will end up snacking on junk food throughout the day, ruining their appetite for a healthy dinner that includes vegetables. Standardize meals and add healthy juices or milks to scheduled snacks and meals in order to curb those irregular appetites.
Life Should Be Fun
One way to spice up those boring old veggies is to create healthy dips to go along with them. Children often like chicken nuggets and finger foods because of the added activity of dipping. You can also play around with creating fun shapes and design using healthy foods. Explore what can be done with cookie cutters. Children also get a thrill when foods that are traditionally served at breakfast become dinner and vice versa. Additionally, stick with brightly colored vegetables in order to really light up their eyes.
Keep Them Involved
Children are more likely to eat meals that they had a hand in preparing or picking out. Give them choices in vegetables while at the store and allow them to help clean the veggies and prepare the meal. If they are proud of having had a helping hand in a dish, then they are much more likely to eat it.
Patience Pays Off
Your child will not take to every new, healthy food right away. Be patient as they experiment with their expanding palettes. In the meantime, you can add daily fiber supplements to foods that they will eat or milk that you serve with meals. Another good strategy in this area is to encourage discussion about the food according to its characteristics such as color, shape, or texture rather than concentrating on whether it is good or bad.
Listen to Your Children
You still must respect your child’s feelings towards food. When a child is not hungry, do not force meals on them. During the next structured meal they are sure to have regained their appetite. Do not give in to demands for unscheduled snacks when they skip a meal. If this is a regular occurrence, then explore companies that provide high-quality nutrition supplements to get your child the minerals and nutrients needed when they are being especially stubborn. Nature’s Sunshine Products excel in products such as these. One only needs to glance at Nasdaq: NATR for evidence of this fact.
Use Dessert Wisely
Avoid bribing your children with food. In other words, do not offer dessert as a reward in any circumstances. Children can perceive this as a message that tells them that unhealthy desserts are the most desirable foods.
With these tactics under your belt, your children can explore a whole new world of flavor at the dinner table. They will also have more energy and develop a healthy attitude towards food as they become young adults.