Written by: Jill Krantz – Lakewinds Event & Community Relations Coordinator
One of the multiple daily tasks in the life of any parent is feeding our children. Feeding kids and family meals can be the best part of our days, or the most stressful, especially if you have one or more picky eaters in the house!
Food likes and dislikes arrive somewhere around the age of two or three, when kids are finding their independent voices and having fun with choices in life. Battles can ensue, so sometimes it’s just easier to feed a child what he or she wants, rather than what was made or planned.
We’ve all been there or are there.
Children need healthy food from the start. We all do our best to offer a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meats and grains. Moms even begin before the offspring arrive, taking great pains to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet while pregnant.
Parents make the food choices in the home. We shop and bring it home. This means we usually create and set our kids’ habits for them. As a mom of six (yes, you read that right), here are my tips on offsetting the pickiest of eaters:
Try not to rule out any entire categories, such as “all vegetables”
- Make food fun (and educational)
Visit a farm, or a community garden. Even better, plant your own vegetables and herbs! When you shop at Lakewinds, point out the photos of the farms that supply our shelves. Talk to the great people in the meat department and learn the names of unfamiliar things. Try flavors of yogurt or kefir until you land on the right one for your family. Visit the bulk aisle and choose among the colorful beans, grains, pastas, rice, nuts and dried fruits. Buy little bits to sample at home.
- Make one meal (vs. two or three)
Even though it is really tempting to just make a separate meal you know they’ll eat, try not to. We’re trying to develop their palates! It’s a joy to watch them learn and grow in their food choices.
- Get them involved
Work on meal planning and grocery lists together. Take them shopping with you, letting them choose one new healthy thing to try each week. Bring them into the kitchen to chop, stir, mash and taste. Let them boast about their participation. The sooner a child takes ownership of his or her food, the more success they will have later in life making good choices. And it’s fun!
- Which is the final tip: HAVE FUN!