Have kids that live on air? Or love something one day but refuse it the next? Or maybe you’re cooking a few different meals every night, just to make sure everyone eats.
Having fussy eaters can be frustrating and can take the fun out of family meal times. To help save your sanity we asked a bunch of real mums to share their tips on how to encourage real kids to eat well.
This is what they had to say:
- Lead by example: I don’t pressure them. I’ll eat the food in front of them and enjoy it, and that usually leads to “can I try it?” Be an example…..eat the good stuff yourself, and make them WANT that good stuff too.
- Banish the snacks: Starve them. No, seriously, I won’t let them eat anything after 3:30pm so by the time dinner comes around they are hungry enough to devour everything.
- Ninja stealth mode: I hide all the things. My blender is my best friend when it comes to adding veggie goodness to pasta sauces and chilli. I also use my blender to serve up healthy smoothies to help up their fruit and veggie intake.
- Its the law: I tell my kids I have to put veggies on their plate because its the law. One day they’ll start eating them…. fingers crossed!
- By design: I get creative and turn their normal meals into works of art. By kid logic the tastier it looks, the tastier it must be!
- Superhero food:
- Play a part: Encourage your kids to help prepare food or even experiment in creative food play. If they take part and enjoy it they are more likely to try and like new foods.
- Bribery! Give them a special treat after they eat the ‘healthy’ stuff.
- Find their weak spot: Feed them more of the good things they like. They are people and not like certain foods. If they like peas and not corn, feed them more peas.
- Patience: It is all about continuing to offer it, no pressure but if it is on their plate over and over they will eventually weaken and try some.
- Hide the goodness:
- Make it saucy: My sons love Spaghetti Bolognese and Lasagna. It is amazing at all the vegies I can add too the sauces when it is all blended up.
- Skewer it: As soon as a meal is placed on a skewer, it becomes highly attractive for children for some reason. Apart from meat and vegetables, I’ve skewered meatballs, ravioli (with dipping sauce on side), fruit, frozen yoghurt cubes… If I can pierce it, it goes on.
- Get creative: Adding a little food colouring – great in mashed potatoes and pasta – keeps them guessing what colour dinner will be next. Or make dinnertime fun and serve up fairy trees (cauliflower and broccoli) and dinosaur bones (carrots).
- Kids in the kitchen: Get kids in the kitchen at an early age, playing and cooking with a wide variety of foods. Kids can’t resist having a taste of whatever they are cooking 🙂
- Create a masterpiece: I make my children’s food into pictures of their favourite characters like Mickey Mouse.
- Embrace the process: I involve my kids in the whole process from growing the vegetables to preparing and cooking them.
- Hunger games: They can’t say they don’t like something unless they have tried it, and if they won’t eat dinner I wrap it up and bring it out again when they say they are hungry.
- Last but not least: Using the Santa trick works every time ?