My kids are very picky eaters, so is there anything I can do to get them interested in foods?

This is a great question. It actually comes at a great time! I had lunch with my niece and nephew last weekend. It is amazing to me how picky they are about what they eat! My brother tells me that getting them to try new things is a battle every time. Kids can be naturally skeptical about what they are eating. But, it is not impossible to get them to try new things. When working with a picky eater, there are several things that dietitians suggest. First, try to describe a healthy sweet food using sensory qualities vs. taste qualities. Encourage your kids to snack on apples and oranges and use words like “crunchy” and “juicy” to describe them. Experts suggest using statements to help determine if your child is hungry or full. “Is your stomach telling you that you are full?” or “Is your belly making that hungry growling noise?” Experts also suggest that using certain statements that make your child feel like he or she is making the choices. For example, it could be helpful to say “Do you like that?” or “Which one is your favorite?” Overall, I think that if parents present foods/eating in a healthy way, then your child will eventually begin to take in a variety of foods…even sweet ones!

I think that it is good that you are interested in your kids’ diet and trying to get them to eat more healthfully. It is true that kids are not always thrilled about eating fruits and vegetables. To get your kids excited about good nutrition I would first be a good role model. Show your children by example that fruits and vegetables are delicious and let them see how much you enjoy eating them. Now think about making food fun! Make snack time play time and have kids make pizza faces. Use whole wheat English muffins and top with pizza sauce then use green pepper for a smiling mouth and black olives for the eyes. Cut cherry tomatoes in half for the ears and throw in broccoli for hair. To get kids to eat more fruit think about making fruit kabobs or have kids cut fruits into fun shapes using a cookie cutter. With their help I suggest whipping up a healthy pan of granola for bars. Then use the cookie cutter to make fun shapes and this can be an excellent snack! Utilize foods that you already know kids like and add fruits and vegetables to them. For example, cut up a banana and add to a peanut butter sandwich or toss small cauliflower chunks into macaroni and cheese. If your kids like chip dip, cut up veggies instead and modify and make your own dip (low fat mayo and sour cream mixed with a little powdered ranch dressing). You can also “sneak” fruits and vegetables into dishes by adding mushrooms and peppers to spaghetti sauce. Puree strawberries, blueberries and raspberries and combine with yogurt (and maybe a little ice cream) for a healthy “milkshake”. Shred carrots and broccoli and combine with ground turkey when you are making a meatloaf and puree cauliflower and onions and add to a casserole dish.

Login to Favorite