Remember the key of a good healthy diet is having good food healthy habits. I have a few tips for you.
1. If your child isn’t hungry, don’t force a meal or snack. Likewise, don’t bribe or force your child to eat certain foods or clean his or her plate. This might only ignite — or reinforce — a power struggle over food.
In addition, your child might come to associate mealtime with anxiety and frustration.
Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child and give him or her the opportunity to independently ask for more.
- Stick to the routine
Serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day. If you child chooses not to eat a meal, make sure that he or she is not eating before their main meal.
- Be patient with new foods.
Encourage your child by talking about a food’s color, shape, aroma and texture — not whether it tastes good. Serve new foods along with your child’s favorite foods.
- Don’t be a chef
Preparing a separate meal for your child after he or she rejects the original meal might promote picky eating. Encourage your child to stay at the table for the designated mealtime — even if he or she doesn’t eat.
- Make it fun
Serve broccoli and other veggies with a favorite dip or sauce. Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters. Offer breakfast foods for dinner. Serve a variety of brightly colored foods.
- Introduce the kids help fun rule in the kitchen
At the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Don’t buy anything that you don’t want your child to eat. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table.
- Set a good example
If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.
- Be creative
Add chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce, top cereal with fruit slices, or mix grated zucchini and carrots into casseroles and soups.
- Minimize distractions
Turn off the television and other electronic gadgets during meals. This will help your child focus on eating. Keep in mind that television advertising might also encourage your child to desire sugary or less nutritious foods.
- Don’t offer dessert as a reward
Withholding dessert sends the message that dessert is the best food, which might only increase your child’s desire for sweets. You might select one or two nights a week as dessert— or redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt or other healthy choices.
If you’re concerned that picky eating is compromising your child’s growth and development, consult your child’s doctor or your Nutritionist for a better understanding and guided help and advice.
In the meantime, remember that your child’s eating habits won’t likely change overnight — but the small steps you take each day can help promote a lifetime of healthy eating.