Kids can be finicky eaters and sometimes it’s tricky to get them to eat the healthy foods that you want them to (because, you know, you love them and all). I’m still searching for a good book to read on the subject of the psychology of picky eating but in the meantime I’m going to share with you my observations of ways to prevent and/or circumvent your child’s picky eating habits.
- You have to eat it too! First and foremost, you cannot expect your child to eat what you find totally revolting. Broaden your food horizons and search for ways to cook healthy food so it tastes good to you, then feed that to your kids too. For the longest time the only fish both Brandon and I didn’t eat was salmon. We bought it anyway, knowing it’s health benefits and scoured the internet for the many different ways to cook it until we found one that sounded delicious to us. It’s a regular staple dinner item for us now, and Charlie loves it.
- Show them where food comes from. Take them to a farm or better yet, grow a garden in your backyard. Take them to the farmer’s market when available. Their relationship with food should exist in understanding that food is grown, gathered, hunted, farmed. Doing this small thing can empower your child to make intelligent decisions about food choices.
- Teach them how to cook. Much like the second point, this is another one that empowers your child greatly (follows the whole give a man a fish he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime quote). You’re ultimate goal is (hopefully) to raise your kid so that one day he/she can take care of themselves. Cooking is an essential component of living, especially if you want them to lead a healthy life. Plus, kids love getting involved in the kitchen! It’s exciting and gives them a deeper connection to the food (labor of love). If you are like me and don’t know much about cooking, get some books, watch some youtube videos, take some classes and honestly, it’s perfectly fine to learn with your children also.
- Don’t force healthy foods on them. You will figure out which ones they like and which ones they don’t. You want them to have a positive association with healthy food and most likely, you don’t like every healthy food either. Personally, I have not found a way to like beets or okra yet. That’s okay! The great thing about nutrition is there are so many sources of all of the nutrients that you need! Cook them as many of the healthy foods that they will eat as they want. My mother used to keep a running stock of strawberries in the fridge for that very reason.
- If all else fails, use the hidden veggie recipes. Butternut Squash in your mac n cheese or black beans in your brownies, there are so many creative ways to get veggies into your kids. Sometimes you are dealing with an especially picky eater and probably also a picky husband and it’s all you can do but to just sneak it into food and giggle softly as they swoon over your secretly full of all kinds of vegetables tomato sauce. Maybe it isn’t so honest but it’s definitely from the heart.
I’d love to hear about what works in your home! Comment below with your personal tips/tricks that have helped you with your picky eaters!