(BPT) – Do you have a standoff with your children each night at the dinner table? Are you encouraging them to eat the foods you’ve prepared while they’re suspiciously eyeing it, refusing to eat a bite? Many children go through picky eating stages, and parents typically need to be a bit creative to get them to consume a well-balanced diet.
If you have been losing the dinnertime standoff with your children, consider some of these tips so you can discover new ways to get your kids to eat the foods you want them to eat.
Mommy’s (and Daddy’s) little helpers
When children prepare foods, they’re more likely to want to taste the food. Ask your kids to help you with making sandwiches, mixing and measuring ingredients or any other tasks they’re able to handle depending on their age. As they participate in the making of dinner, they can see, smell and taste all the ingredients being used, making it easier for them to understand that the final product contains a lot of delicious tastes – and that it’s not something they need to be wary of. To take this tip one step further, ask your children to choose one ingredient in the grocery store they want to try for dinner that week. To mix things up, pick a different department of the store each week – rotating from fresh produce to canned foods, and from meats to frozen foods. Or to make it a challenge, ask them to pick a food item that’s orange one week, and red the next. It’s a great way for all family members to try new foods.
Mix it all up – Another trick is to blend ingredients your children find suspicious into foods they love. If you can’t get your child to eat carrots, for example, blend them in a food processor and throw them into your spaghetti sauce for a delicious boost.
Change the shape or texture – Some children will only eat fresh veggies if they’re cut into sticks. Others want the wedges, and yet others medallions. If you are artistic, get large cookie cutters in animal shapes and cut a sandwich into the shape of their favorite animal. That might be all it takes to entice your children to dig into the meal you’ve made. You’ll also discover children will have preferences regarding how the food is cooked. For example, some children love canned veggies, while others will only eat fresh vegetables with salad dressing or a certain type of dip. Don’t always serve mashed potatoes, but vary the offering using hashbrowns as a side dish for dinner. As they get older, your kids will observe other kids eating foods in different ways and may want to experiment, so be prepared if they suddenly change their minds about what foods they will and will not eat.
Patience is the key thing for parents with picky eaters. Be patient and understand that as your children grow, their preferences will change. Try these tips to encourage your children to expand their palate so you can eliminate the dinner table standoff each night.