Great Ormond Street Hospital says that up to a third of young children only eat a narrow range of foods. This will come as a comfort for many parents. It happens and it’s really quite common. But you will still be concerned as to how you will get the required nutrients into your kids.
Thankfully, there are a few simple methods to coax your child into expanding the variety of their diet, exploring good, healthy food and getting those vital vitamins. If mealtimes have become a battleground, you need to read this article.
Here are our tips:
For kids, food is often something that just appears in front of them on the table, fully formed. They don’t understand what goes into meals in terms of either ingredients and effort. In other words, they have no stake in their meals, other than filling their rumbling tummies.
This makes it easier for them to dismiss a meal because they don’t feel involved with it. You can change that by getting your children to help in the kitchen.
Once they have a hand in taking a meal, from raw ingredients to plating up for eating, they are involved and are more likely to sample the fruits of their labour. They understand that there is more to food than simply eating it, learn about why we serve certain items together and understand better what food does for us.
If they are younger, they may not be able to help with cutting or cooking, but they can wash vegetables, weigh and mix ingredients and other similar cooking tasks.
Another way to increase their familiarity with food is to take them to the supermarket with you. This allows them to take control over which ingredients you use. Introduce them to healthy options by discussing the shape and colour of the items. Ask them what they think they might taste like or which foods they might complement.
Let your child explore the fresh food aisles and see what takes their fancy. If they have had a hand in choosing what goes into their food, they will have an interest in at least trying the end product. And often, that is the most difficult bit.
Give it time
Children need some time to learn to love new foods. They might sniff something, put it in their mouth and take it out again. Taste it, put it aside, taste it again and then leave it. But that doesn’t mean it is a firm ‘no’ forever. If you give up straight away, they will never give it another chance.
Don’t force the issue, but offer new foods regularly and encourage your child to try them. They may give them another go, they may not. It can take time for new food to become familiar and trusted by your child, so keep trying.
Make food fun
If children enjoy meal times, they are more likely to be open to new experiences. You can add a fun factor to the food you serve by creating pictures on the plate using all the items in their meal. For example, make a face with tomato eyes, pepper ears, a sausage smile and so on!
Other ideas include loading the plate with as many bright colours as possible, or simply offering healthy options covered in ketchup or some other favourite condiment. As long as they are taking in the good stuff, it doesn’t really matter!
Measure your reactions
Children pick up on your emotions and reactions so make sure you measure your responses to them at meal time. If they are being picky, try to stay calm and not make a big deal about it. If you push too hard, they might dig in and that will not end well for anyone.
Another way to encourage them to eat new foods is to let them see you enjoying them. Eat together and make sure you show how to discuss how good you think the item is that they are yet to try. If they see you delighting in it, they may just give it a go.
Make sure they get their nutrients and vitamins
The fact is that children often simply don’t want to eat different foods and you just have to ride that phase out sometimes. Whilst you are waiting for them to broaden their horizons, make sure you help them take in the right nutrients and vitamins that will help them stay healthy.
Using Mini Drops is the perfect way to help them get the Omega 3, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3 and multivitamins they need. You can easily manage doses by dropping Mini Drops into the food they do eat. Some Mini Drops are produced using 100% natural flavours that they will love, such as blackcurrant or orange, whilst other are flavourless so you can sneak them into food without them noticing.
Unlike tablets and gummy vitamins, there is zero choking risk with Mini Drops and you can carry them with you, ready to drop into meals. this way, you can help your child thrive, even if they don’t have the most varied diet.
Find out more on the Mini Drops website.
How do you get nutrients into your child? Let us know in the Comments
*This post is a partnership with Mini Drops