Do you feel like there are a million things you have to get ‘right’ now you are a parent? I mean, the list is endless! Now raise your hand if you have a picky eater.
One of the things we all struggle with is making sure our little ones are getting a well-balanced diet.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lot of time to be thinking and planning, let alone sitting for an hour to make sure they actually eat what I’ve prepared! Jenny from Mom Loves Best is joining us today on The Jenny Evolution to help you get through the phase of fussy eating, with some easy ways to change those habits!
5 Simple Ways to Expand Your Picky Eater’s Palate
1. OFFER A CHOICE
It’s important to remember that you might prefer roasted carrots over raw but your little one hasn’t decided yet, so why not let them choose? This is great with all kinds of veg, and you can do it with fruit too, offering mashed banana or chunks and see which version they gravitate to.
I think the environment in which they are eating should also be as relaxed as possible, so they are free just to explore the wonderful world of their taste buds! Strap them into their high chair, put a variety of colorful foods in front of them and let them get messy!
2. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Timings are always difficult with young children, you may not want to eat your main meal at 5pm when they are ready for theirs, but perhaps you could all sit together one night a week, or if it’s easier have your family meal on the weekend. If your children see you eating lots of delicious foods they are more likely to follow suit, after all, you are the coolest person in their world, and they want to do what you do!
3. THE THREE S’s
There are great creative ways to offer new flavors to little taste testers, and it doesn’t have to be complex. I like to call upon the three S’s when I’m feeling a little uninspired, Soups, Sauces and Smoothies!
There are some great recipes online (look no further than The Jenny Evolution!) for these little gems, and they will really help you get some new foods into your child’s diet.
Worried they don’t eat enough veg? Roast up some veggies with sweet potato and then blend with some stock for a warming soup. Refusing any fruit other than bananas or grapes? No problem! A mixed bag of frozen berries or exotic fruits blended with some Almond or Cow’s milk makes a lovely cold smoothie; you could even throw in some Spinach leaves.
My favorite ‘go-to’ for my picky eater is a simple sauce of bell peppers, chopped tomatoes and onion, fry it all up and then when the ingredients are soft blend it all together, and you’ve got a little pasta sauce. Takes no time at all and they get precious vegetables with their pasta fix (my kids are obsessed with pasta!)
4. GET YOURSELF A SOUS CHEF
Young children love to get involved, use this to your advantage and get those little helpers in the kitchen. Perhaps get some ready made pizza bases, or even use a tortilla wrap for a healthier version. Chop up some peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes, then grab a selection of hams and salamis with some grated cheddar for toppings.
Get your picky eater to choose what they would like on their pizza, it will turn it into a game so trying new things becomes fun. To make it easier, do one lot of prep, and keep chopped ingredients ready in the fridge to use for sandwich options or finger foods at lunch too.
Try out these additional tips to getting your toddler cooking in the kitchen!
5. PERSEVERANCE IS KEY
It’s easy to get disheartened when meal after meal they refuse to try new things. This is totally normal and we all feel this way, however, don’t be tempted to bribe them with sweet treats, or give in and offer something else you know they will eat. Persevere and keep at it, if you are worried about waste then just offer small amounts each time and build it up if they start to accept some new things. Sticking to your guns with your picky eater will soon show you aren’t giving in and will perhaps encourage change.
SUMMING IT UP
So there you have it, just a few simple tricks and tips to help guide you through the stage of picky eating. These are all from my own experience, all children like to push the boundaries and this is just one way they can test to see if they get their own way. A healthy diet is important for their development so keep trying and don’t give up! Good luck and let us know how you get on.
Note: If your child is a severe picky eater, there may be more going on. Food aversion in children is real and can require professional intervention. Learn more from Ark Therapeutic Services.
About Jenny: Jenny is a mother of two, a coffee addict, and a fake-it-until-she-makes-it domestic goddess. When she isn’t trying to get her kids to try new foods, you can find her blogging about her experiences of motherhood at Mom Loves Best, or Pinning up a storm on Pinterest.