Are your kid’s fussy eaters? More to the point, are you a fussy eater too? Don’t worry, we all have our own tastes when it comes to food, and in one way or another they can hold us back.
Family Eating Habits
However, it’s hard to justify your likes and dislikes when you’ve got young kids to set a good example for! It’s hard to snack unhealthily and expect your kids to do differently, and it’s next to impossible to sneakily eat that entire tub of ice cream without the kids noticing!
This means it’s clearly time to work on your family’s eating habits. Whether you never know what to cook for dinner, or you’re always leaving the fruit bowl to go rotten, we’ve got a tip for you below to help kick the fussy habit.
Shop for Food Together
Going food shopping with the kids is a great way to get them involved in mealtimes. It helps you to understand what they want out of their plates, and it also helps your kids to get interested in the foods they eat. It gets them to ask more questions about why something is good for them or how they can improve the taste of something they don’t really like.
Most of all, it takes the guesswork out of cooking a proper family dinner! But aside from all this, it helps mealtimes to become more fun. What you may think of as a stupid idea for a meal can be something your kids would love to eat.
And when the kids are in charge of one or two meals a week, they’re going to wolf the food down with gusto, even if you don’t think cheese and chocolate are meant to go together. It’s a good start if nothing else!
Work with Bite Size Portions
One of the best things to do, if you’re trying to encourage your children to eat more healthy foods, is to only ever use bite-size portions. This way you can offer up fruits and vegetables little and often, and your kids will never catch on that all they’ve eaten during the day is their five a day!
So start with tasty snacks, such as a bag of Arctic Apples or a small oat and grain bar, and then move on to more sophisticated, hefty foods, like fresh broccoli and a dip or even a chicken and veggie bowl. Build up slowly, offer more healthy snacks and lock the chocolate bars and lollipops away, and your kids will come round to eating their greens in record time.
You can also ensure they eat more veggies at mealtimes by adding more veggies to their plates but in bite-size portions. Some carrots here, some red peppers there; the more colorful a plate is, the more interested a child will be!
Follow the Same Diet
If you don’t eat the same foods that your kids do, it’s time to simplify your shopping list, which will definitely help to prevent you from spending so much of your household budget on one trip around the supermarket! Unless someone is following a diet that’s been recommended by a doctor, it’s a good idea to eat the same foods at the same time your kids are.
You can also set little challenges that both you and the kids can take on together, such as eating three broccoli florets or five carrot sticks at the dinner table. If the kids see that you’re involved too, they’re going to have a lot more fun with the ‘disgusting’ foods on their plate!
Not only does this help set an example in a more obvious way, but it helps to prevent you from snacking on unhealthy foods later on when the kids have gone to bed. And when you’re following the same diet, you use up more of the food in the fridge, meaning less fresh items go to waste.
Take Your Time with Meals
Is overeating and/or portion control a problem for anyone in your family? Well, here’s a simple way to combat it: eat slower! Eating slowly, and ensuring you never rush your dinner plate (to make room for pudding!), allows your brain and stomach to catch up with each other and communicate more clearly.
After all, it takes between 15 and 20 minutes for these two organs to communicate, whether your brain is telling your stomach that you’re hungry or your stomach is trying to say that you’re full. So, if you eat as slow as you can, you’re far less likely to want a second helping that you never quite finish, or as big a bowl of ice cream out of the freezer. And the same goes for the kids; they’ll soon learn to finish their vegetables if they know pudding is still far away!
Understand Your Child’s Taste Buds
Fussy eating is something all children tend to go through. They hate the foods we like, and refuse to eat them for any number of reasons. But this is often nothing to worry about, and they’ll soon grow out of it and be on to another phase in their life!
However, have you ever wondered where fussy eating comes from? The cause tends to come right back to your child’s taste buds. They’re far more likely to pick up bitter tastes in foods, and are a lot more sensitive to sweet flavors as well. It’s why their refusal to eat their veggies is so confusing, but they won’t shy away from dipping a slice of apple in peanut butter!
But if you want to improve their healthy eating habits, you’ll have to cater to how differently their taste buds work. Season any vegetables liberally, offer up a sweet item to eat alongside fruits (like cheese, yogurt, etc), and your kids will soon love chowing down on healthy foods.
Your family eating habits don’t have to ruin mealtimes much longer! Use tips like those above to reconstruct your relationship with food.