We’ve all been there. You slave away at the stove all day and when the family gathers for meal time, your child pushes away the plate and says, “No way! I’m not eating that!”
Picky eating is a time-honored kid tradition, but it doesn’t have to put a cramp in your dinnertime. Check out these tips for expanding your kids’ palates, and soon your children will be clearing their plates!
Introduce New Foods Early
When your child was a baby, you introduced new foods every few weeks, but at a certain point it becomes easy to fall into a rut as a busy mom. He likes pizza and chicken nuggets, so you just keep feeding him those dishes. If you keep introducing new foods at a young age, your child will always be willing to try new tastes. Raising health-conscious kids who eat a well-rounded diet doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Serve your kid eats a variety of foods from an early age—getting a 2-year-old to try a taste is typically a lot easier than getting an 8-year-old to give a new food a whirl.
Get Them Involved
When foods magically show up on the plate, it can be overwhelming for some kids. Get your kids involved by growing your own food, showing them where real food comes from, shopping together for it at the market and letting them help you prepare the food, too. Bonus: gardening, shopping and cooking together can create fun family time and make great memories (and eating habits) that will last a lifetime.
When introducing a new food, always pair it with a well-loved dish. Something brand new isn’t quite as scary if a food that is familiar is right next to it. Don’t force the issue, but encourage your children to just take one bite. If they don’t like it, they can be done with it this time. But, that doesn’t mean you should never serve the food again. Quite the contrary! Keep introducing it and eventually it will become familiar and, hopefully, a favorite!
Try Global Cuisine While They Are Young
The sooner you introduce your child to global cuisine, the more recipe options you will have later. And we’re not just talking spaghetti and meatballs or tacos! Introduce soups like ramen or pho which can incorporate (read: hide!) lots of vegetables and proteins, sushi for finger-food fun, and fondue because who doesn’t like a little chicken or veggies with their cheese! Check out these great international recipes that kids will simply love.
You’ve probably heard about superfoods—foods that provide high levels of much-needed vitamins and minerals. Incorporate superfoods like blueberries, sweet potatoes, yogurt, seaweed, spinach, avocado, cocoa powder, salmon and nuts into recipes to ensure that your whole family is receiving optimal nutrition. Try a few of these simple recipes from some of our favorite websites that include superfoods that your toddler will love: