When your child first transitioned to solid foods you probably worked diligently to ensure that they ate a balanced diet, eager to help them grow healthy and strong. While you retain the desire for your little one to become big and healthy, you may have grown more lackadaisical in your implementation of dietary restrictions as your eagerness for them to eat the right things transformed into eagerness for them to eat ANYTHING.
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If you want to get your little one to eat more healthy foods, but you aren’t willing to wage war to accomplish this task, try out some of these tricks of the trade.
Pair With Dip
Yes, it’s true. Veggies dipped in ranch or fruits dipped in fluff aren’t as healthy as their sans-dip counterparts. But dipped produce is better than no produce at all.
Get your kids used to the sometimes pungent tastes of fruits and veggies by allowing them to dip and dunk. If you worry about them downing a gallon of dip, limit the quantity you provide so your little one has to ration it.
Sweeten Them Up
Just like dip, adding a touch of sweetness can do much to endear your finicky eater to healthy foods. Give your munchkin grapefruit sprinkled with sugar, or add some brown sugar to steamed carrots.
You don’t have to add much sugar to pack a flavor punch and potentially change your youngster’s view of the food they previously loathed.
Sneak Fruits And Veggies Into Foods
Fruits and veggies alone can be quite intimidating. Instead of presenting a platter of veggies and expecting your tyke to chow down, put them into things. Make an omelet containing some diced veggies to feed to your egg-loving tot.
For an even sneakier approach, puree some carrots and mix them into mac and cheese. With this Trojan horse technique, you can get your little guy happily eating fruits and veggies in no time.
Create Adorable Presentations
Who wouldn’t eat a food that looked like a penguin or an adorable baby bear? While it might take a little more time than you would like, if you’ve got a bit to spare you can delight your petite diner and get them to eat their fruits and veggies by crafting these produce pieces into scenes.
Take a banana and drip the top and back in chocolate, leaving the center front open, for example, to create a quick penguin. Add some chunks of mandarin orange to make a beak and feet, and you’ve just created your first almost-too-cute-to-eat display.
Offer Them At The Right Time
If you place your child’s fruits and veggies on their plate with the rest of their foods, they will most likely eat around them, leaving them for last – when they can say that they’re full. Instead of fighting this battle, offer fruits and veggies as a pre-meal snack to your “so starving” little one.
If they are really hungry, which they very well might be after all of their playing, they will eat them right up, saving you some hassle.
Turn Your Kids Into Chefs
Kids are naturally predisposed to like things they cooked. Give your little guy a butter knife and let them help you cut up some berries or break down a green pepper.
After your youngster gets this hands-on experience with their former food nemesis, they may be more willing to give it a try.
Grow Your Produce
If you’re up for an even bigger challenge, let your child loose in the backyard and have them help you plant a garden. As they watch the seeds turn into plants that are overflowing with edibles, they will better understand where these foods come from.
This increased appreciation may make them more willing to give some of these previously shunned foods a try.
Have Them On Hand
If you want your child to eat fruits and vegetables, they have to be readily available. Keep a basket stocked with fruits and a drawer stocked with pre-washed and ready to go veggies. If your child says they’re hungry, allow them to pick whatever they want from these two nutritious food dispensaries.
This practice not only encourages the eating of fruits and vegetables, but it also gives them some autonomy in making healthy choices, providing great practice for later in life when they are left to make their own food decisions all the time.