5 Quick Tips to Get Your Fussy Children Eating Healthier
This soup is lumpy…
Those chips look different to the ones Grandma makes…
This tomato sauce isn’t the one that I like…
Are these common phrases in your house? Welcome to the world of parenting a picky eater where you’ll likely spend a lot of your time slaving over the stove to make wholesome and nutritious meals for your family, only to have them refused. It’s frustrating and at times exhausting but I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone! I get it, you’re worried about the health and wellbeing of your children and constantly wonder if they’re eating enough or having their nutritional needs met, talk about Mum Guilt!
A word of warning, navigating these issues with your kids will often test your patience and require you to get a little bit creative but these 5 quick tips to get your fussy children eating healthier will ease your stress.
Involve them in the process
When kids are given the opportunity to make their own decisions around meal times it encourages a healthy dietary mindset. While planning out dinner, offer them the choice between chicken or steak, broccoli or carrot. Invite them into the kitchen to work alongside you or watch the process and talk about the benefits of each food in a way that they will understand and engage in a positive dialogue to encourage healthier eating habits. You could even introduce once night per week where the children are able to choose a meal for the family, support them in finding a recipe and sourcing ingredients and take the lead in preparing it with age appropriate tasks.
Use divided plates
We love using these silicone divided plates in our household because they make mealtimes easier for parents as well as more fun for kids. Providing a small amount of food in each section lets your child set their own pace while being exposed to different kinds of foods, it prevents the chicken from touching the mashed potato (because how DARE the food be mixed together, right?!), the walls of the partitions make it easier for your little one to scoop the food up with a spoon or fork and the colours make meals a little bit more exciting. Grab yours from the Our Eco Babies shop now.
Hiding vegetables and supplements in child-approved foods is a pretty handy super power to master. Think of meals and snacks that your child already loves and try adding hidden vegetables or superfoods into the mix. Things like protein powders, bee pollen, collagen and pumpkin can be added into baking. Avocado and spinach can blend beautifully into smoothies and you’ll be surprised how many vegetables you can squeeze into a good saucy meatball or mince mix if blended well. Get creative, and if something doesn’t work out you can always adjust your approach and give it another go. Feeding fussy kids involves a lot of trial and error, so try to have fun with it (and hey, you might even score some nutrient-loaded, unwanted leftovers).
Adjust your expectations
For some reason most kids aren’t born loving vegetables, I mean they’re only necessary to their survival, right? As much as we would love for them to snack on raw carrot and eat up all their broccoli, sometimes it will take a bit more convincing (and a sprinkle of pixie dust – sorry I haven’t found a supplier for this yet). While it’s unlikely that your children are going to magically start eating a balanced portion of the 5 food groups, you can encourage them to form healthier eating habits more successfully by taking smaller steps.
Celebrate the small wins
Did the kids push the food around their plate? Great! Did they lick a carrot? Hooray! Did they use the celery as a vehicle for the dip to get into their mouth? That’s huge.
Don’t get too focused on them eating everything on their plates, start with small, positive experiences and build on them together with your children.
Check out the Our Eco Babies online store for more handy tools and kitchen supplies to get your kids on track to healthier habits.