It can be difficult to navigate picky eaters: as a mom of a toddler, I get it. You know your family best so keeping their preferences in mind while you’re cooking is important! When it comes to picky eaters, we’ve snuck vegetables in wherever we can; in some recipes like the One Pot Taco Mac and Cheese your kids won’t even notice the heaps of grated carrots. Many recipes can be flexed using your pantry staples to provide a different option if needed (ie: tomato toast can be subbed with nut butter on toast). Here are some additional tips for navigating the world of picky eaters:
- Eat meals together as a family and at a consistent time.
- Be a good role model. It’s hard for your children to grasp healthy eating if you aren’t demonstrating the same!
3. Get your child or children involved in food prep. Get them to help peel vegetables, stir ingredients together and set the table. Giving them a greater sense of responsibility and ownership in the meal will give them a greater desire to eat what they helped create!
4. Encourage your children to try a new food (and again another time if needed). It can take up to 10 exposures for children to warm up to a new food, and gentle persistence is key. I often say “you don’t like it now, but you’ll like it later” and leave it alone. It’s important for children to develop a positive relationship with food and family meals.
5. We all have roles to play at the dinner table. As a parent you are responsible for what you offer your child and how often you offer the food. They are responsible for what they eat out of what is provided along with how much of that they eat.
6. Deconstruct meals where convenient to allow your family to build their own. It can make it fun and interactive for kids. Let your child build his or her own burger or baked potato or place all of the components of a mixed meal on their plate where appropriate. There may be one ingredient in a mixed meal that a child may not enjoy (yet!).
7. Avoid distractions at the dinner table, including toys, TVs or devices.