Parenting is far from easy, add in trying to keep fit and have a balanced meal plan and you’ve got a real challenge! In fact, some aspects of parenting feel like choosing to become a brain surgeon may have been a more straightforward route. Us parents always doubt ourselves and the decisions we make. Having a picky eater for a child can be a significant frustration for many. We can’t guarantee that these six top tips will ensure your children will eat a wider variety of foods in-line with your workout meals. However, the majority probably will as these are tried and tested ideas.
Try not to fuss
Firstly, we recommend that you avoid making a fuss with your children about the amount or type of food they are eating. The bigger deal they think it is, the more they might dig their heels in and refuse even more regularly. Of course, if the issue is causing health problems, it is essential that you seek the advice of a professional, such as a pediatric dietician.
Add fruit or vegetables to each meal
Even though the chances are your child will refuse to eat the vegetables or fruit that you place in front of them, continue to add some onto their plate at every mealtime. Rather than forcing them to try it, encourage them by saying It would be great if you could just try one bit of carrot, for example, and then leave it to them to decide whether they will attempt it or not.
‘Hide’ healthy food
Hiding food is a method that many people frown upon. However, it is also one that does actually work for a lot of children. For example, when cooking a tomato-based pasta sauce, you may grate carrot, zucchini and chop onion up to form the base of the sauce. Once cooked, blitz it up and then serve with cooked pasta. This is also a great way of making the sauce for homemade pizza. Midway through the meal, you could casually mention how you made the sauce, and for some children, this will alert them to the fact that veggies aren’t all that bad. However, it can also have the opposite effect and they may feel somewhat cheated. Explaining that most people like certain foods when they are mixed with other, stronger-flavored ingredients, and that is ok can help your child to understand that what they are experiencing is perfectly normal.
Cook with your kids
Involving your children in the food they are going to be having for a meal. While you might not be brave enough to let a five-year-old help you cook, you could sit down with them and some recipe books, looking at photos of meals and discussing what they might fancy eating. With older children, cooking together can be a treasured activity. Not only do they see all the hard work and effort that goes into making meals (which may remind them to make less of a fuss when they dislike part of their food), it can also be valuable bonding time spent together. You could even consider taking part in online cooking classes, learning how to make something neither of you has done before. It means you’re starting on a level playing field, and you can have fun learning something new.
Make just one meal
It can seem much easier to give in and make one meal that you know the kids will eat and a separate one for yourselves. However, this approach can be exhausting. In fact, it is likely not teaching your children anything. Preparing a meal for the whole family to enjoy provides the opportunity for quality time together around the table, as well as promoting a range of foods. Encourage your children to try a little of everything and, one day, they are likely to surprise you by mimicking your food habits, eating a balanced plateful.
Although focusing on providing a balanced diet is what you ought to strive for, allowing your kids to indulge on the odd occasion is unlikely to have a huge impact on their overall diet. In fact, the all things in moderation approach works well for so many people, including those who are attempting to rapidly overhaul their lifestyle by shifting excess pounds. Banning foods from your house is certainly not the right way of doing things as this can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. However, limiting the amount of sugary snacks, for example, that you allow in can definitely make a difference. Instead of using convenience foods, try making your own snacks, such as lower sugar fruit muffins.