Getting picky eaters to try new foods can be difficult. But if your child isn’t filling at least half their plate with fruits and vegetables, they’re missing out on much-needed nutrients! Follow these 10 simple tips to help your picky eaters pick healthier foods. And find more tips and healthy recipes at ShapeYourFutureOK.com.
1. Freshen Up Favorites
Think of your child’s favorite meals. Now, think of how you add some nutrition to them. It can be as simple as adding diced green peppers to pizza, or some broccoli to chicken Alfredo. Or toss in mushrooms or diced onions with spaghetti, diced tomatoes on your tacos or blueberries or bananas in your pancakes.
2. Shop and Cook Together
Bring your kids to the supermarket. It’s a super idea that will empower them to pick out new foods to try. Then, cook up some fun by letting your kids pitch in in the kitchen! Let them wash the produce, tear the lettuce for salads and sandwiches, or snap some green beans. Kids will be more inclined to eat what they helped make. Helpful tip: to keep your kids from begging for unhealthy, overly processed foods, stick to the outside aisles of the grocery store, where you will find fresh and frozen fruits and veggies, meats and low fat dairy items.
3. Establish the “No Thank You Bite” Rule
For really fussy eaters, take baby steps. Children can veto items if they don’t like them, but they have to try at least ONE bite first. You can set a limit on how many “No Thank You Bites” they get too, like 1 per day or 3 per week.
4. Start “Try-It Tuesdays”
Once a week, have the whole family select a new food to try. Make it an event to get everyone excited about it — family members can even take turns selecting the new food. You never know what fruit or veggie might be a new favorite!
5. Kitchen Toys
Fun appliances and kid-friendly kitchen utensils can inspire kids to make and eat healthy foods. Motivate your kids with their own set of measuring cups and kid-sized spatulas and whisks. Or designate them small tasks with small appliances, like pressing down the toaster button or turning the crockpot dial.
6. Don’t Buy Unhealthy Foods
The simplest way to avoid unhealthy food at home? Avoid buying it. If sugary sweets like cookies and chips aren’t available during snack time, your kids will have no choice but to go with healthier options. Stock up on things like fresh fruit, carrot sticks, hummus and trail mix. Avoid purchasing unhealthy drinks like soda, sports drinks and juice boxes. Rethink your drink and choose water. Then flavor it up with great infused water recipes.
7. Give Food Nicknames
Give fruits and vegetables cute and catchy nicknames to boost their appeal. Call carrots “x-ray vision sticks” or oranges “basketball bites.” Try other fun ones like “baby blues” for blueberries, “confetti bites” for mixed veggies and “tiny trees” for broccoli. Or, come up with your own! If you have a few examples that you use, leave a comment to help other parents out!
8. Hide Healthy Foods
Kids not eating their fruits and veggies? Don’t be afraid to get a little sneaky. Hide finely chopped mushrooms or onions under pizza cheese, or bake some spinach in with your lasagna. For breakfast or dessert, blend up real fruit with low-fat yogurt for a thirst-quenching smoothie.
9. Be a Role Model
Your children look up to you. So when you develop healthy habits, it will inspire your children to do the same. Set a peachy example by making an effort to eat healthier. Give it a try with quick, easy-to-make and absolutely appetizing recipes here.
10. Play with Your Food
Cut fruits and veggies into animal shapes or create a silly face with your food to make eating more fun. Another fun idea is to pick a color each day, and then have your kids choose fruits and veggies to try that match that color. You could do one for every color of the whole rainbow! Then add some color to these fruit and veggie coloring pages!
No matter how picky your kid is, they’re sure to eat up these fun, healthy tips. Give it a try tonight, and find more healthy ideas at ShapeYourFutureOK.com.