#FoodPornFriday: How to get your children to eat

To all the parents out there, who battle getting their children to eat, this one is for you.

Sometimes children can become cranky and fussy when it comes to eating, and meal time can just become tantrum episodes.

So the struggle is trying to get the little ones to sit down for long enough to actually eat a full meal; any meal you put in front of them, not make a mess and look forward to mealtime.

8-tips-if-your-child-refuses-to-eat (Custom)

Photo sourced from Healthy Food House.

Below is a guideline, adapted from Parents.com, of 15 tips to help you avoid the breakfast brawls, the lunch tears and the dinner squabbles.

  1. Make a schedule. Children need to eat every three to four hours: three meals, two snacks, and lots of fluids. If you plan for these, your children’s diets will be much more balanced and they would be less cranky, because they won’t be famished.
  2. Plan dinners. If thinking about a weekly menu is too daunting, start with two or three days at a time. A good dinner doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be balanced: whole-grain bread, rice, or pasta; a fruit or a vegetable; and a protein source like lean meat, cheese, or beans.
  3. Don’t become a short-order cook. Prepare one meal for everybody and serve it family-style so the children can pick and choose what they want. Children often mimic their parents’ behaviour, so eventually, they’ll eat most of the food you serve them.
  4. Bite your tongue. As hard as this may be, try not to comment on what or how much your kids are eating. Be as neutral as possible. Remember, you’ve done your job as a parent by serving balanced meals; your kids are responsible for eating them. If you play food enforcer, saying things like “Eat your vegetables,” your child will only resist.
  5. Introduce new foods slowly. Children are new-food-phobic by nature. So when introducing new meals, make it fun and exciting and educational.
  6. Dip or smoothie it. If your kids won’t eat vegetables, experiment with dips and smoothies.
  7. Make mornings count. Most families don’t eat enough fiber on a daily basis, and breakfast is an easy place to sneak it in. Look for high-fiber cereals for a quick fix.
  8. Sneak in soy. Even if your kids don’t have milk allergies, soy milk is a terrific source of healthy phytochemicals. Hide it in a recipe so they don’t notice the difference.
  9. Sprinkle some sugar. Sprinkle some sugar on fruits to avoid their cravings for sweets.
  10. Get kids cooking. If your children become involved in choosing or preparing meals, they will be more interested in eating what they’ve created. Take them to the store, and let them choose produce for you. If they’re old enough, allow them to cut up vegetables and mix them into a salad.
  11. Cut back on junk. Remember, you are in charge of the foods that enter the house. By having fewer junk foods around, you’ll force your children to eat healthier.
  12. Allow treats. Having less healthy foods occasionally keeps them from becoming forbidden, and thus even more appealing. Start calling sweets, cool drinks, and biscuits “sometimes” foods.
  13. Have fun. The more creative the meal is, the greater the variety of foods the little ones will eat. Make smiley-face pancakes and give foods silly names, like broccoli florets can be “baby trees” or “dinosaur food.” Anything mini is always a hit too.
  14. Be a role model. If you’re constantly on a diet or have erratic eating habits, your children will grow up thinking this sort of behaviour is normal. Be honest with yourself about the kinds of food messages you’re sending. Trust your body to tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re full, and they will learn to do the same.
  15. Adjust your attitude. Realise what your children eat over time is what matters. Having popcorn at the movies or eating an ice-cream sundae are some of life’s real pleasures. As long as you balance these times with smart food choices and physical activity, your children will be fine.
images (Custom)

Image sourced from Super Healthy Kids.

Payal Devisingh

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