Children can be very picky about what they eat. With taste buds that have yet to develop, this isn’t surprising. But meal time, picnics and parties can become a nightmare for parents. Force feeding will do more harm than good. Here are some tips that can make your children fall in love with food and meal time during a family days out or at home:
1. Respect Your Child’s Picky Habits
If your children get fussy at meal times, the worst thing you can do is force feed them. Bribing or forcing them to eat something they clearly hate can be counterproductive. It will only make them more rebellious and with time, they will associate meal time with frustration. Prevent that from happening by serving small portions. These won’t overwhelm them and they may be more willing to try new food.
2. Deal With Unwanted Food Calmly
Some kids can act out if they don’t like their meal. Anything from an unwanted pickle in a burger to a sandwich crust can result in a tantrum. Don’t lose your temper. Encourage them to try it later and put it to the side rather than throwing it away. Or calmly take the part they don’t like and place it in someone else’s plate. Scolding them will have the opposite effect.
3. Maintain a Routine
Children thrive in routine. So make sure you give them meals and snacks at fixed times only. Picky eaters usually look forward to scheduled meal times and are more willing to eat nutritious food. Just don’t give them too much water or juice during meal times. They may fill up on it and may get picky during set meal and snack times. Picnics or any days out with kids should be planned during those times.
4. Make Mealtime Fun
Toddlers are attracted to colours and anything that is eye catching. You can make food look equally irresistible by arranging it in shapes that they recognise. Add different dips and cut up solid food into bite sized shapes they won’t have trouble eating. Better yet, give them their own utensils with their names on them such as these reusable bamboo ones here from My Little Panda. The font can be customised as per your needs.
Delivery takes a day. Besides eating with them, you can also use these utensils to cook. The portable and lightweight kit can also be taken during days out with the family.
5. Expand the Menu Gently
Respect children who are picky about what they eat, while encouraging them to try new things. This can be a bit tricky, but works wonders. Be a good role model by trying new things in front of them. Make a game of it and retry good that your kids didn’t like before. A second taste may be just what they need to change their minds and expand their palette.
6. Involve the Kids in Cooking
Some kids fall in love with certain dishes after they say how it is made. Involve your children when you are cooking. Invest in some kid-friendly knives and other utensils such as these ones here and supervise them as they stir pots or dice vegetables for you. The activity will strengthen your bond with your children and encourage them to eat everything that they make with you.
7. Don’t Say Vegetables Are Healthy
Rather than saying vegetables are good for them, say they are tasty treats instead. Children don’t care that the food they eat is healthy or not. Their experience dictates their taste and preferences. So refer to carrots as ‘yummy treats’ so they look forward to it.
In other words, when you stop telling them that veggies are healthy, they will be more interested in eating them. Similarly, stop labelling snacks as ‘treats.’ You will encourage them to pick what sounds good to them rather than forcing them to eat what they may not like.
Mealtime doesn’t have to be a challenge. Your children will be more willing to try new food if the experience is a pleasant one. Investing in customisable and reusable cutlery such as the ones My Little Panda offers, is a great start. Place your order today!