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Picky Eaters? What to Do When Your Children Won’t Eat

It is very normal for families to have a picky eater in the family. However, exposing children to new foods at an early age can definitely help with that as many are often simply picky with the unknown. To help your child, it would be best to try to get as many new flavors and textures into the daily regimen as possible. You don’t have to throw vegetables on the plate and expect children to eat them, though. There are a few fun ways that you can get new foods into the diet, some that the children won’t even notice until the plate is clear.

Blending With Other Foods

One of the easiest ways that you can introduce new foods for children is to blend everything into one dish. A casserole is an idea that will work with most kids. Don’t leave new foods in large pieces as the child will easily be able to see what’s there. Chop new items so that they can be hidden by the other ingredients in the casserole that the child enjoys, such as onions, peppers or mushrooms hidden in a chicken casserole. Spaghetti is another great meal to hide foods in, such as tomatoes and onions—or any other vegetable that might dissolve well in the sauce.

Savory Sandwiches

Take the sandwich a step forward by making it classy. Add a colorful toothpick to a sandwich that is made using a Kaiser roll, such as those from Klosterman Baking Company, to help it look more fun. Use cheeses and meats that your child might not eat on a regular basis along with a funny face that is made with a few slices of vegetables.  You might even want to let your child help you to make the sandwich as well. This way, it can be a fun experience that they will definitely want to eat up.

Cartoons Like New Foods Too

Does your child have a favorite cartoon? If so, pick an episode where a character on there is eating some sort of healthy food that your child will be eating that day at dinner. Let you child watch that episode and then have them help you make that meal. While preparing everything, ask your child questions about the show. Why do they like it? How can they be more like their favorite character? Try and make the connection between how your child can be like that character by eating healthy food too.

Sharing Ideas

When you put food on your child’s plate, explain that the food needs to be shared so that they each get a turn in the body. As the child tries a new food, you need to tell the child that another food wants to be able to support the body as well, such as providing muscles to swing on the monkey bars or to help with the vision. If the child understands that the foods each have a duty in the body, then it can help them get a grasp on eating healthy.

New foods can be tricky for kids to try. They might not like the taste or the texture. However, if you disguise them or make the meal fun, then new foods are a cinch to get into the body—even if it’s a small bite at a time.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) has done extensive research on the long-term effects of childhood hunger. Children are our main demographic of clients, so we work tirelessly to get their families the resources that they need to lead healthy and productive lives for generations to come. When you assist IFCS' mission to alleviate hunger, your support has a ripple effect that affects the future of our community. Take a moment to make an impact - #onecanfeed
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