I’m not one to typically dole out the parenting advice over here. I think that many aspects of parenting are simply trial and error, and what works for one bambino doesn’t usually work for the other. But I do have a picky eater, and am happy to share a few of my healthy eating tips on behalf of Tyson.
My oldest child, Lucia has always been a bit of a picky eater, but I definitely think that the corruption sets in as they start to get older. I vividly remember the day that Lucia declared that she no longer wanted green peppers in her snack bag because so-and-so said that they were “yucky”. Which leads to my first tip:
I could have been better about continually offering Lucia the food she started to reject as she grew. I learned from my mistakes and make sure that my little guy continues to eat his veggies. I also continually offer my kids different foods – even when rejected. But sometimes, my only hope is sneaking things in their food. I often hide veggies and power packed nutrients into my children’s meals. I like to send them off to school with a healthy breakfast, and am a huge fan of steel cut oats (or regular oatmeal when pressed for time). I like to chop up a ton of mixed nuts (Brazil nuts, walnuts cashews and almonds) for extra protein and mix in a bit of ground flax and cinnamon. I also frequently mix chopped veggies into ground turkey meat, and chicken cutlets as it’s a guaranteed way to sneak them in.
Both of my kids are prone to eat healthy food if they help take part in the process. They love to crack eggs, mix ingredients, and pick things apart (like parsley). We try to involve them as much as we can and also include them in the cleanup!
It is highly unlikely that Lucia will devour an entire plate of carrots, but she will gulp down freshly juiced carrots and apples. My littles think that juice is such a treat, and they also love to help make it. When my kiddos first rejected raw broccoli, I found a recipe that they love – which turned them into broccoli lovers. Sometimes a different form or an awesome recipe will do the trick.
Little ones can often be cajoled by a pretty presentation. Fun containers, divided plates and tiny separated groups of food make healthy snacks appealing to children.
|Walnuts, fruits, veggies and cheese presented in a glittery Easter egg rainbow, supported by a cut up egg carton.|
I certainly don’t have Pinterest perfection going on all the time (and think it would be problematic if children’s meals always looked like elaborate art). But I love to get creative with meal presentation on occasion. The process of creating is so much fun for me, as is the pint-sized excitement over my arrangements. My husband (an artist) is also a master creator and has been making fun food art since the pre-Pinterest era. I also always try and incorporate a little fun into my kids school meals with creature-shaped cookie cutter sandwiches, the addition of an eyeball and a special hand-drawn love note.
|Mango, orange, cranberry, and strawberry sun. Dino mold turkey and cheese. Kale chip tree. Roasted seaweed, green bean, broccoli, Brazil nut, blueberry, mango and kiwi grass/flowers.|
If all else fails, my worst possible tip *bribery* may work wonders if used in excessive moderation. My daughter may or may not be a salad lover due to a singing, light-up, Rapunzel doll.
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