Ensuring that children eat healthy meals on a regular basis can sometimes be a challenge. This is true because many children are picky eaters, especially when they are toddlers. If your child is a picky eater and you would like to get him or her to eat healthier foods, then it is possible for you to learn how to accommodate your child’s tastes so your they can consume healthier foods. This guide will teach you all about picky eaters and what you can do to get yours to eat more nutritious foods.
What is a picky eater?
Just about every parent can identify a picky eater – one who refuses to eat vitamin-sufficient fruit and vegetables. Your picky eater’s favorite foods may be cookies or pizza, and of course you want him or her to eat more than just junk food.
Research and picky eaters
Researchers have studied toddlers and their picky eating habits extensively. One conclusion that they’ve come to is that children develop their own personal tastes for foods by the age of 3. Despite this fact, parents have the ability to encourage their children to eat healthier foods. This means that just because the only foods that your toddler will eat are McDonald’s Happy Meals and doughnuts doesn’t mean that you must succumb to his or her demands. That simply isn’t realistic. Experimenting with different tastes and textures will help your child eventually begin to acquire a taste for nutritious foods that are much healthier than fast food hamburgers and fried, sugary dough.
Recipes for picky eaters
There are various recipes online for toddlers, whether they are picky eaters or not. With such a wide variety of recipes, you are bound to find one or more that your picky eater will actually like. Here are a few recipes that you might want to try in order to increase your child’s level of nutrition:
In a blender or food processor, put 2 peeled, diced apples, a peeled, diced pear, a cooked, peeled and diced sweet potato and ½ cup of pineapple. Blend until smooth. This will make several servings for your child, and he or she is likely to enjoy this vegetable applesauce due to the delicious sweet flavors.
Peanut butter and jelly
Many toddlers can appreciate the taste of a good old PB & J. If your child is one of them, then you can make sure that the ingredients are as natural and as healthy as possible. Purchase all-natural or organic peanut butter and jelly. You might also want to purchase organic bread, as well. Allow your child to help prepare the sandwich, which will increase his or her interest in eating it. Sure, things may become a bit messy, but isn’t it worth the mess to get your child to eat? To make the perfect PB & J, here is an easy recipe:
1 slice of whole grain bread
1 teaspoon of organic jelly (let your child choose)
1 teaspoon of organic peanut butter
Slice the piece of bread in half and spread jelly on one half and peanut butter on the other. Place the two halves together to make a half sandwich, and let your child enjoy. You might also want to make one for yourself, or better yet, have your toddler make one for you. If your child sees you enjoying the sandwich, then he or she will be more likely to at least take a bite or two of his own.
You can also create your own recipes based on what your picky toddler won’t eat. For instance, if your toddler enjoys pizza, then allow him or her to help you make your own pizza. Use healthy dough as crust and be sure to sneak in plenty of pureed vegetables when making the pizza sauce. You toddler will never know the difference once you put the cheese and pepperoni on top.
Also, if your toddler enjoys ice cream, then you can try giving him or her yogurt instead. Toppings will make the treat more fun, as well as increase your toddler’s chances of eating it. You can try sprinkles, chocolate chips, candy bits or crushed cookies. If he or she doesn’t like regular flavored yogurt, then try Greek yogurt. If you’re not successful with Greek yogurt, then try frozen. Frozen yogurt has the taste and consistency similar to real ice cream, which your child might actually accept. Of course, adding toppings will increase his or her chances of eating the frozen yogurt.
Healthy meals for picky eaters
If you’ve had some luck with a few snacks, then it’s time to create kid-friendly dinner ideas for picky eaters. Here are some ideas: homemade chicken nuggets, raw fruit and veggies with dipping sauce and pasta. When it comes to the dipping sauce for fruit, you can try flavored yogurt. For veggies, ranch dressing is popular, or you can offer honey mustard, or any number of other dips. Be creative and make it fun. Have a taste test with your child to make things fun. That way you can discover which dips he or she prefers most.
Again, if you include your child in the preparation process, he or she will be more likely to want to try the food, at the very least. You might be surprised at what foods your child will start to like if you offer them regularly. You should also let your child see you and your spouse or others eating the healthy foods that you want him/her to eat. Your child may become curious and ask for a bite, which is the reaction you want to provoke.
Fussy eaters – there is a difference
There is a great deal of healthy food for toddlers, and you will just have to determine what your child will or will not eat. If your child is more of a fussy eater than a picky eater, then you are in luck. Fussy eaters are easier to manage because they usually like a variety of foods. However, unlike a picky eater, fussy eaters will pick and choose which days to eat certain foods. For instance, all your child may want for dinner is pizza from Pizza Hut, despite the fact that he or she likes many other foods. By not allowing your child to dictate what he or she eats on “fussy” days, you can teach your child to eat whatever is prepared. This is likely to be impossible with a picky eater, as a picky child simply won’t eat what’s prepared unless it’s one of the few foods on his or her list.
Whether your child is a picky or a fussy eater, you shouldn’t worry too much. As long as your child is getting some type of nutrition, this super picky stage should soon pass. If you would feel better, you should purchase a kid-friendly multi-vitamin, which he or she is sure to enjoy because of the added sweetness. By giving your child a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, you can ensure that his or her growth won’t be affected due to being a fussy or picky eater. If you try to be patient with your toddler without worrying, before you know it your child will be eating so much that you will find yourself increasing your grocery budget in order to accommodate his or her appetite.