It can be hard to get kids to eat. They can be picky about the color, the texture, or even the fact that it’s something they just know they won’t like even if they’ve never tasted it. The “I don’t like that” response can be frustrating and worrisome to parents, especially when you’re worried about them getting enough vitamins and minerals that will help them grow.
One great thing to do that can get kids more involved with healthy food is allowing them to help cook. If they are too young to cut vegetables or grate the cheese, allow them to help wash the vegetables for cooking, toss the salad so it’s mixed well or use a spoon to mix the batter for a healthy banana bread. Any kind of interaction in the kitchen can give them the chance to see what goes in and they have a sense of pride in what they helped make. This can make something they don’t want to eat usually more appealing.
Play with the food by making faces with vegetables, peas for eyes, cut carrots for a mouth, any kind of fun thing can make it much more interesting for the child. Of course this works best if it’s a fairly young child. The older ones aren’t nearly as fascinated by vegetable art.
Find different ways to cook foods. If pickled beets aren’t something that are enjoyed, try a different approach like grating the beet and using a small amount of olive oil to pan fry them like hash browns. If they don’t like cooked vegetables try to leave those ones off the plate and add in fresh ones for them to munch on. Fresh veggies can be more healthy than cooked ones anyway!
If all else fails, hide the unappetizing food in things. Grate, mince, blend the vegetables with other inoffensive veggies. Stuff them into things like dumplings, lasagna, sauces, just make sure they are fairly small so they don’t bring attention to themselves!
The best tip however seems to be to make meals a relaxing time, not a time to be stressed and upset. Meals have been considered as a time to communicate, relax, and share with other people for centuries among many cultures. Making those times of day more leisurely and happy can help create good memories about food that can last forever.
Photo by Funadium.