We all want our kids to enjoy new culinary experiences and keep an open mind about what is put on their dinner plate, but sometimes that does not come easily and you need to be more strategic about mealtimes. Here are three ways to help fussy eaters overcome their doubts about unfamiliar foods and encourage a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
Do not offer too much choice
If your little one refuses to eat a meal or two, then calling their bluff will not do any harm. They can make their own decision about whether to eat what is on offer, or wait until the next scheduled eating time. To avoid a point-blank refusal, provide one or two familiar items if you are also offering something new, as that encourages them to at least get started.
Keep pushing those veggies!
Kids get bored of vegetables served in the same way time after time and encouraging them to feel enthusiastic for the umpteenth time about a serving of peas can become a struggle. Get around that by incorporating a range of vegetables into other, more exciting dishes, like lasagne, bolognaise and risotto. Blended sauces are also a clever way of hiding vegetables, if you make a larger batch, just freeze the excess in an ice cube tray and use as needed.
Stick with the ‘one bite’ rule
How many times have you asked your child why they do not like a certain food if they have not even tried it? No one wants to eat a meal they find genuinely unpleasant, but all too often kids are quick to judge something new as ‘horrible’ without giving it a chance. When you find you are in that situation, try persuading them to at least try a spoonful. If they do, give plenty of praise and ask how it tasted!
What do you do to ensure mealtimes run smoothly?