Feeding kids of varying ages with different temperaments and different tastes can be extremely difficult.
Add in allergies and ensuring your children get healthy nutritious meals that they will actually eat can be extremely difficult. Below are some tips that have helped many mums to ensure their kids are good eaters – shared by busy mum Jodie
A busy mum Jodie’s top tips
- Schedule – kids, like us, need to eat every three hours in a combination of meals and snacks. If you let them get hungry they get cranky and are less inclined to try new foods and will make mealtime trying.
- Plan your meals – try to get a meal plan going for at least a couple of days at a time. This way you can ensure your meals are healthy and nutritious, and you have all the ingredients.
- Cook one meal – As a busy mum, I do not get time to cook multiple meals to cater to everyone’s varying tastes. I cook one meal and separate out the veggies and protein and everyone chooses what they want. Kids will naturally try to imitate their parents so if they see you eating the vegetables/salad they will copy. If you have 4 vegetables on offer, tell the kids they must eat 2 and let them choose which two. You will get less reluctance if they feel they have a say in what they are eating.
- Don’t hassle them while eating – I know it is difficult but don’t hassle them about eating while they are eating. Don’t tell them to eat their veggies etc. the more you go on about them eating, the more reluctant they will be to eating them. Instead, talk about planting broccoli trees in your mash potatoes and your son being a dinosaur who has to eat all the trees up.
- Hero worship works well – There is no harm in saying Spider-man loves his peas or princess jasmine loves grapes. Just make it realistic and you’ll have them gobbling up the offending item until they no longer like that superhero. This also includes sports stars and other people they look up to. Try and have the discussion while making dinner as opposed to while eating it.
- When in doubt, dip it – Dips are great at snack time. You can give kids lots of different options of things they can dip into a dip of their choice. It’s a great way to get kids eating their veggies. Try to vary and expand the dip range over time.
- Introduce new foods slowly – Don’t serve up a entire meal of food they have never eaten before, they will turn most of it down. Instead, start by making subtle changes , ie: mash potato becomes pumpkin and potato mash . Cauliflower rice instead of normal rice with a regular stir fry.
- Get the kids to help – if they are old enough, get them to start having a say in dinner as well as when it is being made. They can stir the pot, shell the peas, help make burger patties etc. the more involved they are, the more inclined they are to eat it. It’s also a great way to get them to eat raw veggies while your pre-paring .
- Get creative – even as an adult, if a meal is more visually appealing, you are more inclined to eat it. So get some cookie cutters and make flower carrots, use different colour capsicums. Make smiley faces. Cut sandwiches into shapes. I have found the best way to get my son to eat a sandwich is to cut it in the shape of a dinosaur.
- Enlist a buddy – do you have a friend who’s children eat well, they sit down at the table, eat a wide variety of food etc. then invite them over for a meal. Your kids will see them eat and will hopefully copy.
- Remove junk food – your not putting your kids on a diet, rather removing the option of having junk which can cause elevated sugar levels and affect moods. That is not to say to deny it all as this will create more cravings for it. Treats are ok and should be eaten in moderation. Also when you have a treat buy only enough for that treat not to store for next time as then it’s a temptation.
- Show them the right way to eat – if you are on a diet all the time, they will see that and will emulate it whereas if they see you eating healthy such as the healthy mummy program then you are setting them up for long term success.
Hopefully, the above tips will see you creating a better food relationship for your children .
Remember changing habits can take a while , it will not be an instantaneous thing, you must commit and follow through.
Some short term work now will set you up for a long term harmonious meal times.
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