5 Tips to Getting Get Picky Kids to Eat Healthier

dealing with picky eaters

As a chef for 20 years, what’s the toughest challenge I’ve ever faced? Soufflés? Demi-glaces? Deep-fried Turkeys? Forget about it. Try getting a five-year-old to willingly eat something other than French fries.

Here are 5 easy tips to help that picky eater change his or her ways.

Sit down and eat with your kids. I know this one sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be amazed how infrequently this happens in a lot of families, especially these days when both parents are working full time. By sitting down together as a family, they see you eating (hopefully) a healthy, balanced meal. This is especially important for younger kids because they mimic what adults do. And if all they see is you eating on the run, or a bag a chips on Sunday in front of the game, then that’s what they’re going to want.

Put healthy food in plain sight. Hide the chips, cookies and twinkies in the high cupboards. Or better yet, don’t buy them at all. Then, when the kids come home, or on the weekends, make sure apples or bananas are on the table near where they hang out. Cut up some carrots and celery and a small bowl of peanut butter. I have a niece who loves to eat frozen peas because they crunch in her mouth. The point is, when kids get hungry, they eat what’s at hand so make sure it’s healthy.

When you do your household shopping, let the kids have input on meal planning. First, this is a great way to teach them what is a healthy, balanced meal. Secondly, we all know that kids want to be heard. If they helped plan the menu, they are more likely want to eat it.

Let kids help prepare the food. This one ties into number 3 by getting kids more involved in the meal planning. Ask them what they want, then show them how to make it. Let them do things like measure and mix ingredients, and when they get older, peel and cut stuff. Not only will this encourage them to eat better, these are life skills that they probably won’t receive in school. This one is tougher during the week, but why not make it a family tradition on the weekend.

Eat breakfast for dinner. Just for the fun of it have waffle and eggs, or pancake and sausage links for dinner. Throw in some fruit and milk, and you have a balanced meal that’s exciting because “you’re breaking the rules.”

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