Getting picky eaters to try new foods is no easy feat! What works one time might not always work. It can take time and you can’t give up! Giving kids a good foundation in nutrition will benefit them their whole lives. It can save them a lot from a lot of bad things that come with health problems in the future. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. So, here are some tips and tricks that I have picked up along the way to add to my other post 5 ways to get picky eaters to eat!
1. Small Portions! This small but simple rule of thumb will make a big difference in your house! You can build a lot of confidence in your children if they can finish their meal. By starting out small, they will get a sense of accomplishment that will help them feel proud of finishing their plate. If they are still hungry, they simply get another portion. This trick has been helpful to me as well because I have less to throw in the trash and more to save for leftovers for the next day. Win-win! You will have to decide what is a small portion depending on your children and their needs but if you have smaller kids, start out with about the size of your fist. Keep in mind, this is only a starting point! If they are still hungry, they get more of course! It can be intimidating to receive a huge helping of food, especially if it’s given to a picky eater who isn’t exactly excited about the food in the first place. The smaller portion on the plate is to build confidence, not for dietary purposes. Yay for small victories!
2. Make it fun. We oftentimes will eat with our eyes. Picky eaters will often just look at a food and decide it’s not for them. Most parents say, “don’t play with your food” but by making it fun, you have made it beautiful and you have won half the battle. This doesn’t always work for everyone but it’s a tool that might come in handy for when you have a little extra time.
3. Eat what they eat. If you want your kiddos to eat healthy foods, you have to start by setting the example. I know this might be hard for some but you want your kids to have the best and they won’t eat it if you won’t eat it! In my own family, I will eat many, many things that my kids absolutely will not eat. I’m not saying that your kids will always eat what you eat, only that if you won’t eat it, your picky eater will take notice of that. Seeing the example of healthy eating will go a long way.
4. Keep healthy foods stocked. If kids only have access to foods you don’t think are good for them, that’s what they are going to eat. I try to only keep things on hand and in the pantry that I know are going to be healthy things for them to eat. Mr. Darcy and I have a health history of diabetes on both sides of our family and we have strived to be extra intentional about food with our children. We don’t forbid candy and treats at our house. We buy occasional treats (mostly fruit snacks and on occasion rice Krispies treats) to put in their school lunches. I like to buy fruit cups, bananas, apples, yogurt, applesauce, veggie straws, and fruit leather. I will also bake muffins or quick breads for snacks. They can be frozen and pulled out for quick after school snacks. When they do eat chips or candy, it’s a special treat to them. Some weeks are better than others but I keep all this in mind when grocery shopping. My rule is don’t buy what you don’t want your family to eat (easiest when kids don’t go shopping with you, haha). It seems obvious but it’s easier said than done sometimes.
I love having a colorful plate!