First you've got to help your child understand how food affects their bodies. Explain how different foods make you stronger, healthier and give you more energy. When I explained to my kids Kyle and Brooks about how Vitamin D makes you bones stronger, they squeezed their arms after each sip of milk and felt the difference! Very fast-acting, that Vitamin D!
Make it a family rule of one bite for every year of age--and even nibbles count! Your child may be surprised and realize that a food he used to refuse as "yucky" now tastes pretty good!
Introduce healthier foods by doing things such as throwing rolled oats into cookies... Or pureed tofu into spaghetti sauces.
A mom also told me her son loved the "pink chicken" she served which was really salmon...even though he said he hated fish.
HEALTHY SNACK IDEAS TO ENTICE A FUSSY EATER
- Apple slices coated with cinnamon-sugar or parmesan cheese
- Banana slices dipped in hot chocolate mix
- Ants on a log -- celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins
- Whip up a milkshake or fruit smoothie with fresh fruit, milk, and frozen yogurt.
- Serve chicken, tuna, or egg salad in ice cream cones, or as a dip for crackers or vegetables.
- Put vegetables in a washed out dump truck or plastic boat to get your child's attention.
- Have your child help you cut paper plates into fun shapes.
- Also... Let your child decorate her meal by adding sprinkles of cut herbs or condiments.
- Use old mustard or honey squeeze bottles to help make food festive. Have your child squeeze designs in jam on an open-faced peanut butter sandwich.
- Serve a grilled or saut?©ed chicken strip on a popsicle stick.
- String a snack necklace from oat cereal and dried fruit.
- Play a game with your child to guess your "secret ingredient" in each main course.
Again, make it a game....
Hold a "Who can crunch the carrot the loudest?" contest. This has my kids gobbling up carrots, while I appear puzzled and just cannot seem to decide which crunch was really the loudest!
Offer rewards for eating seven different fruits and vegetables in one week.
And remember... you are allowed to be sneaky:
Pureed corn is hardly visible in macaroni and cheese, and fresh tomatoes add vitamins to tomato sauce.
Grate vegetables like apples, carrots, zucchini, or squash into muffins.
Blend cooked chicken with a little liquid in your blender or food processor before adding it to soup.
DON'T FORCE IT
Lastly, do not force your child to eat new foods as this will only exacerbate things. Confrontations over what your child eats at every mealtime will only set you and your child up for protracted food battles later on during the pre-teen and teen years.