Home > How To Raise Brave Eaters
Posted by Shannon M. on Friday, February 17th, 2012
There is seldom a more annoying phenomena than an adult who is a picky eater. Not only are these people a nuisance at restaurants, office parties, and the like, but they have seemingly yet to graduate into adulthood. Often times, the pickiest of adults were once the pickiest of children - the victims of simple parenting missteps. Here are some simple tricks I’ve picked up over the past six years, all the while raising my daughter to be the most adventurous eater in her kindergarten class:
It’s simple: the hungrier your kids are, the less picky they will be. This means, cut out snacks two hours before dinner time. This will ensure that your little ones have a raging hunger, making their dreaded broccoli look a little more like ice cream.
Get ‘em involved
I’ve found that kids are more likely to eat what’s on their plate when they are more involved in the preparation of it. By simply including your children in the process of cooking and generating some excitement around their choices (allow them to pick out the veggies they want), you’ll almost certainly see a change in their table temperament.
Instead of asking your child what he/she wants for dinner, ask if he/she wants option A or option B. For example, “Do you want chicken and brown rice with broccoli and squash or do you want noodles with cauliflower and red peppers?”
Take it slowly
If your child is already a picky eater, turning that ship around is possible but it will definitely take some time.
Start slow; don’t pile on the veggies all at once. This might mean disguising vegetables inside some of their favorite dishes. A few ideas include the ever-delicious cauliflower mashed potatoes, mac and cheese with pureed zucchini and carrots, or oatmeal carrot cakes.
Make it fun
In addition to implementing all the above tricks, also remember to appeal to your child’s sense of play. Try cutting fruits and vegetables into different shapes with the help of a cookie cutter.
When it’s time to eat, be sure to “ooh” and “ahh” over the food, making a big deal about how good it tastes and how cool it is to eat, say, a star-shaped sweet potato wedge. If that doesn’t work, try making dinner time into a game of “who can eat more vegetables.”