We ran a Q&A session with Tesco Ireland recently and many of the questions were in relation to how parents could get their kids to eat healthier foods. I thought that it might be useful to write a post offering some hints and tips
1. Lead by example
You can’t expect your child to tuck into a bowl of porridge before school if you can’t be bothered sitting down to breakfast yourself. It’s important to always model the behaviour you want to see in your kids. I was a fussy eater myself when I was younger and had to overcome my dislike of certain foods to make sure that my kids wouldn’t inherit my bad ways.
2. Have good food available
I find that when the fruit bowl is well stocked and clearly visible in the kitchen, the kids are always more likely to reach for an apple or a pear instead of asking for a biscuit or sugary treat. Also, if there’s no junk food in the house there won’t be any for them to eat.
3. Stick with it
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Just because your little one turned their nose up at brocolli once doesn’t mean that they will never eat it. Kids like what they know and they eat what they like. So don’t be put off, try again in a week or two and one day they will come around.
4. Don’t make a big deal out of it
This is a hard one, I know. I’ve sat at the dinner table looking at my twins thinking will they ever eat!! I should’ve chilled out and realised that kids will eat when they are really hungry. Be strong, cook one meal, don’t pander to cooking four versions of dinner just because she doesn’t like this or he only likes that. If they don’t eat it, don’t give in and give them something else. Kids are clever little human beings, they’ll very quickly learn that if they hold out, they’ll get what they want in the end! There’s no point in saying, ‘eat your vegetables they’re good for you’. It would be better to say something like ‘have you tried your carrots they’re really delicious’.
5. Get them involved
This is my favourite so I’ve saved it for last. If you get your kids involved in cooking or preparing food (in particular foods they may not love), I find that they are much more likely to try what they’ve been instrumental in making. They’ll also feel great pride in seeing everyone else in the family enjoying it too.
Do you have a fussy eater in your house? We’d love to hear your story.