I have two kids and sometimes getting them to eat anything new or healthy is a fight. They have gotten into the habit of only eating the specific foods they like and rejecting anything new we try to put in front of them. We have tried many different techniques to try and get them to eat more of a variety of foods. Some have been successful and some have blown up in our faces. I wanted to share a few of the techniques I have personally used to get my kids to eat more of a variety of foods. I also found a great article written by a Dr. Julie Burns that was featured in Parenting magazine. She has triplets, and I thought some of her ideas for healthy eating were very good. I will share some of her ideas from her article here too.
Bite the Bullet - One of the main thoughts I wanted to get across in this blog post was standing your ground when it comes to getting your kids to eat. One of the main problems my wife and I ran into and still struggle with is getting frustrated and reverting back to bad habits. It is very easy for a parent to get discouraged and not want to give the effort it takes to get their kids to eat better. One of the practices that my wife and I have tried to implement is to make one meal for the entire family to eat. This takes a lot of will power because the tendency is to revert back to bad habits when your kids won't eat what you prepared.
Parents have to stand their ground and communicate to their kids that the food which was prepared is all they are getting. I'm not suggesting that send your kids to bed hungry by any means. If they are hungry they will eat the food that is before them. It just may take some time of sitting at the table to get them there. This is where a lot of patience comes into play.
Bite Your Tongue - Dr. Burns in here article tells us that we need to bite our tongues when it comes to telling our kids that they need to eat the food that is on their plate. She states that parents need to be neural on the subject. Telling kids they need to "eat their vegetables" is only going to make them resist.
Reward Their Good Habits - I'm not saying that if your kids eat all their dinner then you need to buy them a new toy. Rewards can be small. My wife and I told my son that when he tried a new food he could put a sticker on a chart. We bought a chart at a local dollar store, and when he tried a new food we wrote the food down on the chart and let him pick out a sticker to place next to it. This provided an incentive for him to try new foods.
Try Dipping Sauces For New Foods - Dr. Burns tells us that sometimes you may need to dip new foods in a familiar sauce in order for kids to eat it. My son loves to dip his carrots in hummus. You can also try ranch dressing and salsa. Your kids may surprise you one day by eating the vegetables without having to have the dipping sauce.
These are just a few of the many ideas parents have tried in the drama that is trying to get their kids to eat better. If you would like to see the rest of the tips that Dr. Burns suggested in her article you can click here. The main point is to stay the course, even through the tough times, and not resort back to bad habits.