Fussy eaters can make life complicated for parents as they scramble to find ways to get children to eat a balanced diet. With life being as busy as it is, it’s tempting to throw a few chicken nuggets or fish fingers into the pan and call it dinner, but these convenience meals fail to nourish growing bodies. Developing a healthy relationship with food requires dedication from a parent and a commitment to consciously work at it. Here are five tips for preparing meals for fussy kids:
Get the Tools to Simplify Meal Preparation
While you don’t have to acquire the very best nonstick cookware, it certainly helps to make the food preparation less of a chore and more of an enjoyable art. Alongside your non-stick cookware set, ensure your kitchen is equipped with pantry organizers to make storage easier.
One of the greatest parenting hacks for preparing food for fussy eaters is to get a set of excellent quality Tupperware food containers. With all the food prepared and neatly stored in containers, packing lunch boxes or enjoying a healthy meal on the go is simply a matter of dishing up and reheating.
Keep Each Food Separate on the Plate
A common preference many young children have is that they need each food to be separate from the next. Alongside dishing up each food separately, it helps to add a good dollop of sauce to the middle of the plate, ideal for dipping. Alongside this, structure each plate to contain a balance of preferred foods with one adventurous option. Never mention the adventurous option and keep it a very small portion. When it’s there, night after night, with no pressure or verbal mention, it becomes familiar, and familiarity is safe.
Limited Food Preferences? Talk About Ways to Compromise
Communication and respect are paramount. It’s important to develop a relationship with food in order to broaden the number of foods your little one is willing to try. Talk about some of the foods you’d like to introduce and talk about how you can prepare them so that they’re willing to give them a try. Another compromise might involve cutting the food into pretty shapes, serving it with a favorite sauce, or following up the healthy food with a little treat.
Let Little Hands Help with Preparations
Sometimes, a sense of ownership over the meal can make a kid feel proud and this can make the food more appealing. Give the children little jobs to do in the kitchen to prepare the food. Younger children might benefit from something as simple as being the one to pour the food into the pot, stir the food, or taste the food. Ask for opinions on putting in salt and flavoring, and enjoy tasters at every step of the process. Involve the little one as much as possible.
Grow Your Own
Has your child ever seen a seed germinate, grow into a plant with careful nurturing, and yield a crop? There’s something so satisfying about boiling a potato you grew in the garden, munching on a carrot, or cracking an egg that you collected yourself. The trick to getting this to work lies in involving your little one in absolutely every step of the growing process, from sowing the seeds to watering daily, harvesting, and preparing the food.
The more you fuss about what your child eats, the more you’re likely to discourage playful experimentation and the discovery of new and tasty foods. So, follow the tips above and take a casual approach to fussy eating.