I get a lot of surprised looks when people hear the things that our children eat. What I can tell you is that it is by no accident! Before our first baby was born- I resolved that we would never be forced to eat chicken nuggets and macaroni at every meal. I also resolved that my children would have much better eating habits than I. You see, I have terrible eating habits. Eating fruits and vegetables is a challenge for me. I’m pretty sure I could live on a good baguette! I wanted my children to be like those crazy people I knew who would grab an orange for a snack. I marveled at that idea, as I would have much rather had an enormous bag of jelly beans- those have “fruit”, right? I must say, I have been pretty successful in my quest to get my children eating a healthy variety of foods. Here are some of my tips for success~
As soon as solid foods are introduced your child will start asserting which foods are his/her favorite. Babies usually prefer fruits to vegetables. What I did to keep my kids from getting too picky, was to feed them the food they liked least first. This way, when they were the hungriest they would actually eat the green beans or whatever it was they weren’t so fond of. Another thing that we did was to feed our babies a large variety of baby foods, rather than just sticking with the few that they preferred.
Both of our kids had very little sugar before 2 years of age. When we wanted to give them a sweet treat- we gave them fruit. Simply put; if they don’t know that junk food exists- they will naturally be excited to eat a piece of fruit for dessert. We do not buy juice or chocolate milk syrup for our kids. It’s just not necessary. Of course they would prefer to have a sweet drink, but at our house they have a choice of milk or water and no one seems to mind
Don’t want to be stuck serving the same 5 meals for the next 18 years? Then don’t! I cook what my husband and I want to eat and the kids eat it too. And, when I say we eat what we want to eat- I mean Indian cuisine, Thai food, blue cheese, you name it- we eat it! Don’t put limits on what you think your kids will like. So what if you feed them a meal they are not crazy about! Our Pediatrician always says, “Kids will not starve themselves. Once they get hungry enough, they will eat what is presented.” There are certainly times when our kids really do not like something that I make. We have a rule that they must at least try everything on their plate. If they end up eating barely anything at mealtime, I know that when they are offered a healthy snack at snack time, they will be extra hungry and be able to eat then. I also purposely keep track of which meats, fish, fruits and vegetables we are eating so that I can mix it up each week. You will never hear my kids saying that they don’t want to try something new! They are adventurous eaters because I am always trying new recipes. They don’t love everything, but they will definitely try anything you put in front of them!
Spice it up-
Contrary to popular belief, kids can handle quite a bit of spice. Now, I’m not talking 3 alarm-fire-Buffalo-wings spice, but they can certainly handle most spicy foods. Start young! And make sure there is a big glass of milk nearby
Get rid of the junk! I’m not just talking about getting rid of the chips and little debbies. I mean- get rid of things like pudding, fruit snacks, sugary yogurt, most crackers, chicken nuggets, chicken patties, lunchables, soda and hot dogs. These things should be used in moderation, but sadly they are staples in a lot of homes. If junk food is not available, the kids (and you) will forget about it.
I hope some of these tips will be helpful to your little healthy eaters and maybe even some Mommies, too!