The baby is getting close to that magical age of starting solid foods. As a mother, food and meal times are a very important to me. I want my children to know and value real healthy foods. I also want them to be open to trying new foods. Over the last five years, my husband and I have developed a few guidelines to help our oldest head down the road towards adventurous pallet and skip the picky eater path. These guidelines are not full-proof, and even we have gone through phases of struggle, but my 5-year-old is a great eater who loves a nice aged cheese as much as macaroni and cheese and loves spinach salads topped with grilled salmon and lots of fresh veggies as much as peanut butter and jelly.
6 Easy tips to get your child to eat everything…
1. Follow the one bite rule. Require that your little on try one bite of everything on their plate, even if they think they don’t like something on it. Stick to this rule no matter how many times the same thing is served. Sometimes children need to see – and taste – the same thing several times in order to decide that they like it after all.
2. Serve food to your kids in the same manner that you serve it to yourself. We’ve all heard that tired line “you eat with your eyes first,” right? Presentation matters even to a toddler. Seeing that they are getting the same meal as mom and dad can make a plate of food that much more appealing.
3. Make family meal time a priority. Even at a very young age, kids need examples of how and what to eat. We swear by the our portable Fisher-Price booster seat as a way to keep small children involved in meal time. It folds up easily so that just like at home little one can easily join us at the table even when we’re on the traveling or visiting family. Plus you can skip storing one of those huge ugly high-chairs in you kitchen or dinning room.
4. Serve the same things in new ways. For example sweet potatoes can be mashed, roasted, baked, or served as fries or chips. Break out of your cooking ruts and your children might just thank you.
5. Rely on favorite flavors and foods to encourage trying new things. Your kids love peanut butter? Make Thai peanut butter chicken. Your child loves pizza? Serve up pizzas with new toppings.
6. Get your children involved in the cooking process. Even very young children have fun helping mom and dad make dinner. At just 16 months old my oldest daughter enjoyed helping me cook. At the time she used a chair to reach the counter but the Little Partners Learning Tower is a great – and much safer – option for kids 18 months and up.
What is your very best tip for getting your kids to try new foods? What food are you most proud to say your kids eat?