Not a day goes by that I don’t receive an email from one of my readers or subscribers to Momables, specifically asking how they can add a variety of foods to their picky eater’s diet. The first thing I tell them is: you are not alone.
You’d think that because of my job, my children eat everything. But I can assure you, they are insanely picky and we have our share of food battles. Their picky eating and my frustration with finding ways to feed them a variety of foods are some of the main reasons I started my company. There are thousands of parents who are struggling right now. They are just like us: they are busy, they not trained chefs, and they’re short on patience and time at the end of the day to figure out how to prepare a healthy meal for a picky toddler.
Read Related: Why You Shouldn’t Force Your Picky Eater to Eat
Thanks to a lot of meal planning and hundreds of emails with my community members, I’ve gathered five tips that will help busy parent feed their children a healthy variety of foods.
Kids love to dip their foods in a tasty (and messy) dip. All you have to do is find one they will like and let the fun begin. Some dip options are: guacamole, cream cheese, cottage cheese, pureed fruit or vegetables, yogurt or hummus. What can you dip? Anything! From vegetables, fruit and noodles to grilled chicken!
I found that for kids who have an issue with certain colored foods, a great way to introduce foods in that color is to make smoothies. Blend milk and fruit plus yogurt, honey and peanut butter…and enjoy!
Until your kids become more open to some of those really-good-for-you vegetables, hiding them in other foods isn’t as difficult as you think. You can make your own vegetable marinara sauce, chop veggies very small and hide them under the cheese layer of your pizza, or mix them up in this homemade cheesy rice.
Put those cookie cutters to use and cut up their foods into fun shapes. It is true that children eat with their eyes—don’t we all?—so go spend $10 on an assortment of small cookie cutters. The smaller the cutter the more options you’ll have.
Never underestimate the power of child peer pressure. My daughter tried celery and carrots because her bestie told her she was missing out! Go figure. Invite a couple of kids over and serve a variety of healthy snacks. It’s amazing what kids might try when their friends are around.
Getting your kids to eat more of a variety isn’t that complicated. However, it’s something we should all be conscious of. Otherwise, it’s easy to fall into the make-what-they’ll-eat trap and sacrifice nutrition and variety. Be consistent and remember that it can take a few times for your kids to actually eat something new.