I have always had this question from parents that their kids don’t eat. Many children are picky eaters. Being picky about food is a normal behavior for many children. There may be times when your child wants to eat a particular food again and again for a while, and then not want to eat it at all.
One advice is – Don’t force your child to eat!
Creating an environment where your kids can make healthy nutritional choices will help their food habits. By fostering a supportive environment, you can develop a positive relationship between your child and food. I will share 8 easy tips in this post that will do the magic for you!
1. Don’t restrict food
Restricting food increases the risk that your child may develop eating disorders later in life. It can likewise negatively impact your kid development and growth. Rather than prohibiting food, discuss all the healthy and nutritional benefits – encouraging your child to pick fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy over junk food. And I know this is not easy but with perseverance, you can make this happen.
2. Keep healthy food
Your child will eat what is available. Keep fruit in a bowl on the counter, not buried in the crisps/chips section of your fridge. Remember, your child can only choose foods that you stock in the house. Setting a good example for your child helps – If your child sees you eating a variety of healthy foods, he or she will be more likely to give them a try. So have an apple for your own snack in front of your kid and offer from what you are eating.
3. There is no “good” or “bad” food
Tying foods to the things your child cares about, such as sports or doing well in school. Let your child know that lean protein such as chicken and calcium in dairy products give them strength for sports. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables add luster to skin and hair. And eating a healthy breakfast can help them excel in class.
4. Praising motivates
Give your children a proud smile and praise when they choose healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or low-fat dairy. This will motivate them to choose healthy foods more often.
5. Don’t use food as a reward
This could create weight problems in later life. Instead, reward your children with something physical and fun — perhaps a trip to the park or a quick game of ball. So the next time when your child needs a trip to the park, they will eat healthy.
6. Have family dinners
Make family dinners a habit. Research shows that children who eat dinners at the table with their parents and siblings have better nutrition and are less likely to get in serious trouble as teenagers. Also having family dinners will teach them table manners and the right behaviors.
7. Prepare the plates
You can put the right portion of each item on everyone’s dinner plate, instead of offering up a food buffet. This way your children will learn to recognize healthy portion sizes. If adjusting to healthier portion sizes means smaller portions for your family, help make the switch seem less shocking by using smaller plates.
8. Let your kids decide
Let your children participate in decision making this will make convincing them to go for healthier options easier. Ask your child to take bites of all the foods on their plate and give each one a score. When your kid selects a healthy food — especially certain vegetables — give high score, and serve them more often.
Remember – Changing habit is always gradual. It will not happen overnight, and it’s an uphill battle for parents, so persist with your methods and take my word it will pay off.
In the coming days, I will write on how to make ‘Fun Foods’, these will again make sure that your child eats healthy.