If you’re like I once was, it is PAINFUL to get your children to eat. Here is a list of things my husband and I have tried. Some worked, some didn’t, but they are definitely worth trying until you find the right one for your child.
1. First of all, you HAVE to put it on their plate. Whatever it is that you’ve made, make the same thing for them. It doesn’t matter if they scream, fuss, scowl, or make your life miserable. After a couple of times of putting it on their plate, they will be more willing to eat it, without you begging them to. If you never put a piece of broccoli on their plate, they’ll never try it. Or if you put it on their plate once and they don’t like it, whose to say they won’t like it the next time?
2. Let them help you make the food. All I have to do with my kids is slightly mention they can help me in the kitchen and they are ALL on it. Yes, it may require A LOT more clean up, but they gain a sense of ownership and become more intrigued when they are pouring, measuring and stirring.
3. Number three stems from number two. We watch Master Chef Junior on TV as a family. The kids LOVE it, and they try to imitate the tiny chefs on the show. My husband and I explain to them the importance of trying new foods and in order to be a good chef, you have to try different flavors of food.
4. Make it fun. When the kids were a little smaller, my husband would challenge them to a race. As a parent, you have to be kind of careful, since choking is a hazard. Use your own judgment on which foods are easy to swallow. But with eat bite of the “gross” broccoli, my husband would say, “I bet I can finish my bite faster than you.” And the kids would race to win. Kids love to win. With this playful bit, they feel like they’re winning, even though the parent wins by getting their kid to eat the gross broccoli.
5. Show them dessert. If they have a goal, “after you finish your dinner, you can enjoy some of this ridiculously amazing dessert,” they are more willing to clear their plate. It doesn’t have to be a cookie or cake every time, maybe a small piece of candy, pudding, jello, or a piece of fruit they love.
6. Dips. Let them try dipping their food in ketchup, ranch, bbq sauce, mayonnaise, guacamole, salsa, cheese, etc. Be willing to let them try food with different dipping sauces. Again, it goes back to making it fun. If it looks like a game or sounds like a game, your kiddos will listen. Be open minded, have fun and they will too.
Be persistent and don’t give up. My son has always been a fan of food. He will eat almost anything, because we’ve made it fun and he dreams of being a chef one day. My daughter has always been the harder one to convince. As of two weeks ago, we celebrate daughter eating salad, and liking it. We always put it on her plate each time and make her try at least one bite. But two weeks ago she tried the salad with ranch dressing. It literally was lettuce, cheese and ranch, but she loved it. One more small victory for us.
I would love to hear your input. How do you get your kids to eat? Do you have picky eaters? Have you tried any of these tips with no avail?