As a parent, it can be frustrating when you can’t get your kids to eat healthy foods. Many children are “picky eaters” and refuse to step outside of their comfort zone with food. They may cling to just one or two meals that they want to eat all the time. It goes without saying that this is no way to achieve a balanced diet. And unfortunately, you can’t always force your kids to eat healthy meals. They have to agree to eat different foods and go beyond their favorite meals and snacks.
So, how can you get a picky eater to try new foods? What are some good methods to encourage healthy eating in younger children? Finally, when should you start implementing different strategies to overcome picky eating? In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at some of the causes of picky eating in children.
What Causes Picky Eating?
Why is my kid a picky eater? If you find yourself asking this question, you are definitely not alone. However, it is not always easy to identify the causes of picky eating in toddlers and young children. More often than not, the habit of picky eating begins at a very early age. If you find early difficulties with bottle or breastfeeding, this could be a sign of picky eating habits in the future.
The timing of weaning your child off of formula or breast milk can also affect eating habits. Many extremely picky eaters were not introduced to lumpy food early enough. Late introduction to foods beyond formula or breast milk can make “normal” food seem less appealing to babies and toddlers. If you find that you often have to work hard to get your child to eat anything at all, this could also be an early sign of picky eating habits.
Understanding some of the possible underlying causes of picky eating can help you learn how to get picky eaters to eat vegetables and other healthy foods. By examining the reasons for picky eating, you can practice greater empathy and realize that it isn’t always an issue of children being “bratty” or “immature,” but frequently a result of issues during the transition from liquid to solid foods.
How To Get Picky Eaters To Try New Foods
Now that you have a little more information about why children become picky eaters, it is time to see how to make a picky kid eat different kinds of food. First, it is important to note that the age and temperament of your child will both be important factors during this process. For example, you probably wouldn’t use the same strategies for a 5-year-old as you would for a 9-year-old or 11-year-old. Additionally, some children simply push away new foods, while others will have complete meltdowns if you don’t give them exactly what they want to eat.
So, assuming that your child is younger (age 5 and below) and you’re thinking of creative ways to get picky eaters to eat, then you should first consider clear and concise rewards. For example, if you promise that your child can only have a sweet treat if they eat all of their vegetables, they will be far more likely to obey. To avoid putting too much sugar in their diets, you can also create rewards unrelated to food, like a trip to the playground or an extra hour of TV time.
However, this reward system does not work with every child, and it can also create the expectation of a reward after every meal. Therefore, some alternate strategies recommended by child nutritionists are providing fresh foods at an early age. Not only are these healthier, but they will likely be more enticing than canned or preserved options. Additionally, you should not try to make your child eat anything that you are not willing to eat. Sharing the same foods can encourage picky eaters to follow in your footsteps and eat healthy meals together.
Finally, most children feel very separated from the food they eat. You put a plate in front of them, but they have virtually no concept of the amount of work that went into buying the groceries and preparing the meal. As a result, they will be more inclined to refuse foods that don’t appeal to them. So, if you really want to rid your child of picky eating habits for good, get them involved in the meal preparation process.
Contrary to what you might believe, many children will find it fun to be involved in the kitchen. Interesting smells, new concoctions, and being given responsibilities can all help a child help out and have fun at the same time. Moreover, once the meal prep is finished, the child is far more likely to want to try out what they have created (or helped create).
Using Kids Cooking Kits To Encourage Healthy Eating
Cooking kits for kids offer safe, fun recipes for your children. Additionally, the simple instructions make it so that your child can take the lead while you offer your support as needed. For example, you will obviously need to take care of the food shopping, but you can bring your child along so that they can choose between different products. This brings them even closer to the process of preparing food, which will make it easier later on to curb their picky eating.
A kids cooking subscription box offers the perfect solution for parents who want their kids to try healthy meals and have a greater appreciation for the effort it takes to make each and every meal. Even if you are not an expert cook, you can help make sure that the meal comes out correctly. This way, the final product will be delicious and enticing for the child. When they have the opportunity to make their own food and have “adult” responsibilities, most children are much more open to trying new foods and dishes.
Thus, getting your kids involved in the cooking process, especially at an early age, is one of the best ways to overcome picky eating habits. And, even if your child is not a picky eater, teaching them cooking skills will serve them well later in life. By encouraging curiosity and experimentation in the kitchen, you could even help your child become an expert cook in no time!
Do you want to learn more about getting picky eaters to eat healthy foods with cooking kits? If so, be sure to reach out to Kidstir today!