Now….as most of you know – I don’t have children of my own but I do have a passion to have our next generation loving healthy foods as much as I do – with “treats” in moderation. I have put together some great ideas from some experts in the field with years of experience with children & food….adding my two cents worth too.
I hope your children can benefit…& love trying something new!
Try ‘buffet style’ – put out a range of foods at dinner time & let them help themselves, ensuring there is at least one thing they will eat if hungry (most like rice/pasta/yoghurt). So maybe try a main protein such as chicken/fish pieces with a sweet potato wedges, brown ‘not so fried’ rice & deconstructed salad (including something different like mushrooms or cherry tomatoes), along with hommus. The child can choose the veggies they know they like, & maybe try something different & dip them in the hommus. Other obvious ‘buffet style’ meals are making homemade pizzas, burgers, enchiladas, or tacos….again, randomly include new ingredients to offer different choices for them to experience.
Lead by Example – if you go out for lunch or dinner…..try something new yourself. Don’t always order the Atlantic salmon with greens….try something totally new & exciting. Encourage your children to do the same…or to at least taste what you have ordered.
Start Your Own Veggie Patch – even if you don’t have a large area….you can grow them in pots – try sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, beans, capsicums, strawberries, & an array of herbs. Have the children to plant seeds or seedlings, water & tend to the garden. It will give them responsibility within the household & they will learn to love eat food they have grown. Let them help you in the kitchen washing & peeling veggies, or putting together a salad.
Alternate the Temperature & Texture – a lot of children don’t like the texture of foods….so if you always offer them cooked carrots or beans & they don’t eat them, try it raw. I know this was a ‘big’ one for me! Maybe they won’t eat poached eggs….but they don’t mind the cold & hard boiled.
Make it Look Pretty – as humans…we eat with our eyes. If they don’t like the orange sweet potato…try the purple one. Add herbs & nasturtiums for fun. Also try to ensure there is a ‘rainbow’ of colours on offer. I know that I much prefer eating a healthy meal which is beautifully presented than one that has no diversity or looks dull.
Set the Scene for Family Time – when the dinner table is set & everyone comes together, there’s harmony & unity around the meal. Have the children be part of setting & clearing the table. Sharing new food experiences alongside the daily happenings provides a ‘safe/stable’ place to express & experience. No phones, TV or iPads allowed – just family.
And remember…it can take 10-15 times for a child to recognise a particular food as ‘normal’ in their diet. So just because they don’t like it one month doesn’t mean they won’t like it again….try it again in a few months time when their taste buds may have changed . 😉
Devised by including some info from Carrol Baker’s “War of Wills” Wellbeing article & Eve Reed’s info from www.familyfoodworks.com.au ….plus my ideas! x