Picky eaters. Do you have any picky eaters in your house?! Let's just be honest and admit that kids are funny little creatures. They often become picky eaters during their toddler and preschool years. But why oh why?!?📷 I think one of the main reasons is that young kids don’t have much control in their lives. But, what goes in their mouths is one thing they DO have control over… and they exercise that control to the fullest. Letting them have control over what they eat will avoid mealtime stress and encourage healthy eaters.
I shared some of the tips that I feel has helped my kids become pretty healthy eaters! They love vegetables and fruits and they've even been known to choose a salad over jellybeans!
It doesn't come naturally, but with time and a little bit of patience, I guarantee your child can become a healthy eater too! Here's how:
At mealtime, I like to offer healthy choices and let my kids choose what and how much they want to eat. I find that it's key to not force them to eat. It's amazing how our bodies know, on its own, how much we need to eat. I believe that a kid will eat when he's hungry and doesn't have to eat when he's not. Try to encourage to try even just a bite and if they don't like it, they can spit it out. Did you know that it takes a good 5-8 times of eating food before your taste buds realize you do or don't like it? If they don't like a new food the first time, don't give up. Offer it a few more times before concluding that it is something that they don't like. Make mealtime a positive experience. Forcing children to eat will only make them hesitant to even come to the table. Maybe your child is difficult at mealtime because they are not hungry. It is easy to lose track of juice and milk refills throughout the day. But think about all the calories that are filling up their tummies in-between meal. Try only offering a small snack and water in between meals. This will ensure your child is truly hungry and not stuffed with calories we didn’t even notice they were getting.
📷A strategy I use often to make mealtime a positive and fun experience is to make food “bars.” Get creative. Take everyday meals and turn them into a build your own meal, exciting experience. I love making a potato/sweet potato bar, taco bar, pizza bar, falafel bar or salad bar. Set out the ingredients on the table and let each child choose their toppings. This will not only let them have control but also give them a sense of pride and accomplishment in creating and eating the foods they like! Just think about the feeling you get and how excited you are to try something you’ve created!
I made a DIY Sweet Potato Bar the other night. I used the instant pot and had perfect potatoes in 7 minutes! Then a variety of fillings and place them in a “bar” type line up. This part was honestly the longest part of dinner prep. Once everything is set up, ring the dinner bell and let everyone make their own plate (of course you might have to help the little ones). Listed below are the fillings I used for my sweet potato bar.
📷:: hummus (leftover from a double batch I made on Friday using the instant pot)
:: caramelized onions and pepper :: Mexican quinoa salad (made using my weekly batch of quinoa... instant pot in 1 minute) :: refried beans (thank you TJ) :: meat sauce (leftovers from earlier this week) :: Asian coleslaw :: guac/ avocado slices (depending on the child...) :: kale salad
And they love it! See... healthy doesn’t have to be complicated and boring!!
here's to encouraging healthy eaters, xxx
PS - Join the Busy and Healthy Moms FB group for lots of healthy recipes that your kids will LOVE!