Most kids are picky eaters at one point or another but they will only stay that way if they are allowed to. No matter how picky your child is, you can get him to try new things â€“ but you may need to pull a few tricks out of your hat.
Here are five tips to help you win the food wars.
Cut It Small
If your son hates carrots of any kind, donâ€™t force him to eat them by themselves. Grate carrots into casseroles, stews, and soups. Make them large enough that he can see them but small enough that the taste and texture are minimized. Next, make a few dishes with small cubed carrots and eventually he will be eating sliced carrots with no problem.
Make It Cute
I had a couple of children that really hated eggs. One of my friends had the banty chickens that lay tiny, pastel colored eggs and so I just called them magic eggs from fairyland. Problem solved. The teeny eggs were fried and served with tiny toast shapes cut with a teensy cookie cutter.
You can do that with almost anything. There are a ton of blogs that have cute Bento lunches where the food is crafted to look like everything from a dinosaur to Hello Kitty. Yes, it takes a little more time, but the result is worth it.
Have a One Bite Rule
The one bite rule works because you can get used to a flavor in 21 days. If you require that a child take one bite of everything served, she may eventually decide that she loves asparagus after all.
This works really well, especially with older children, but you have to follow your own rules. One bite is one bite â€“ after your child has taken it donâ€™t push for her to eat more. Keep the bites small so that she is not overwhelmed with the flavor or texture.
If she happens to eat more than one bite, donâ€™t make a big deal about it. Accept the win without comment.
This is a long term fix, but many children will eat vegetables that they helped grow easier than those that grew in the plastic wrap at the store. Homegrown vegetables are fresher, more tender, and tastier than the aging, dry produce that was shipped across the country and waited for two weeks in a warehouse.
If you canâ€™t grow vegetables for some reason, make a trip to the local farmerâ€™s market or produce stand a family activity. Let your child help choose the fresh vegetables for your meals. Children are more likely to eat things that they have had a part in growing or choosing.
Most of all, make sure that you serve a variety of foods, cooked in a variety of ways. Expose your children to the foods of different cultures by using unusual spices and herb combinations. Keep in mind that adding fast food, convenience food, and junk to your childâ€™s diet will always work against you.
Do you have any tips for winning over a picky eater?
photo credit: CarbonNYC