We know all too well that a child is more keen to belly up to a bowl of sugar coated treats then they are to a bowl full of fruits and vegetables. Even as parents, we love the occasional sweet treat that we know is not doing any good for our health. Sadly, over the years it is rare you see a child request a delicious platter of healthy items and is shocking when it happens. There are many ways you can get your child to eat healthy, and we thought we’d share our tips with you.
The Taste Test
MommyMatter has really been pushing healthy eating in our homes. WeeMan has always been a very fussy eater and refused to eat anything and everything healthy. Over the past few months however, we’ve been trying out new ways to put an end to the fuss and getting healthy things into his little tummy.
First thing we tried was the taste test. We’d over fill his plate with items we know he’d fuss about and a few items we know he loves. For him to be able to have the items he was all for eating, he had to try at least one of everything he didn’t. This ensured he actually tasted those “oh so disgusting” yet actually yummy things that he has fussed about forever. To his amazement, the things he thought he didn’t like, he did. Now this does take a few tries. Usually the first few times he was so upset about having to try he never actually tasted, but over time, he gave up on the fuss and just tried, discovering things were not disgusting.
Repeating The “Yucky” Stuff
Offering your child items they feel they do not like over and over again, they generally begin to like them. WeeMan has fussed over grapes, carrots, broccoli and just about every vegetable under the sun since he started eating solid food. When I was a single Mom, usually by dinner time I didn’t have the energy to fight and cooked meals I knew he’d eat, just so he’d eat. Over the past 6 months however, I have put an end to my own fear of the food fights and started only preparing things I know are healthy and will be good for them.
This involved me repeating a lot of the same meals switched up a little, but soon enough the entire family was eating 100% healthy. If you know my WeeMan, you know he’s a very fussy eater. There are many meals we’ve shocked my parents with by getting him to eat. He used to hate lasagna and salad, now however he will sit up and eat every last bite.
Let Them Decide
A child is more likely to try something, if they are apart of the decision. When you provide your child with the ability to make decisions on what they are eating, they are more likely to consume the foods. We have done this hugely with vegetables and fruits. We provide WeeMan with three different options, and he has to select one of those options for what he would like to eat. He feels proud that he can make “adult” choices and loves being apart of the meal decision making.
Every dinner time, both children get to select one item that they would like on their plates with dinner. The item must be healthy and something they will consume. This guarantees that at least one healthy thing is in their tummies and they get to participate in the decision making of dinner! This does lead to some meals being very, different, but they are at least healthy, and eaten.
Don’t Make Eating a Fight
Dinner time was once a dreadful fight. Everyone would leave the table frustrated and saddened, instead of happy and cherished. Dinner time is meant to be a time your family catches up on their days, but when you are fighting over food being consumed, the meals are no longer enjoyable.
To avoid the fight, provide your child with items you know they’ll eat and worry about the other stuff until after they’ve at least ate something off of their plates. By the time your child gets to the things they do not like, you are usually done your own dinner and this will allow you to focus on your child’s eating without stress and frustration that you aren’t getting to eat. Sit with them, discuss what they don’t like about the food and how they could make it taste better to them. Some times all it takes is a hug from Mommy and encouragement to try, and in no time their plates will be empty.
Getting your children to eat healthy can be hard, but being consistent will make the process easier. Do not give up, no matter how many screams and fights are thrown at you. Helping your child develop good eating habits young will open many doors for them in the future. A healthy meal helps your child live a healthy life, and diminish the chances of experiencing childhood obesity. Take control of your child’s eating habits now with our tips for getting your child to eat healthy now!