All parents know that it is hard for them to get their children to do anything, which can make meal times a battle for the family. Do you feel like dinnertime is frustrating and unproductive because your children don’t want to eat healthy foods? Don’t give up hope if your kids refuse to eat the healthy food that you serve at meal times, because there are a few things that you can do to change the situation.
Include Your Child in Meal Planning
When the child has a sense of responsibility for the meal, then they will learn many good lessons about their food choices. Involve the child in the menu planning, take them to the grocery store, and include them in the meal preparation activities.
By involving your child in this process, it is more likely that they will at least try the food that is prepared. Additionally, you have the opportunity to teach them about different types of foods and how those foods will impact their health and wellness.
Serve Foods in a Variety of Ways
Even if your child has never liked a specific type of food, try using that ingredient in different ways until you find the preparation method that they like. For example, a child might not like raw broccoli, but they might eat broccoli if it is served in a soup. Be creative, and continue offering healthy choices prepared in different ways.
Teach Your Children to Try New Foods
It might not be fun to add a new ingredient to the dinner menu, but with practice your children will learn how to try new things. Here are a few tips to help your child learn to like new types of food:
- Continue offering the same foods over and over
- Serve small amounts in the beginning
- Let the child choose new foods to try
- Be a good example, so the child sees parents, siblings, and other people eating the foods
- Serve new ingredients with familiar foods
Don’t Force Your Child to eat if they aren’t Hungry
If the child says that they are full, don’t force them to continue eating. Teach your child to listen to their hunger cues, which will help them to recognize their physical experiences and develop a healthy relationship with food. Children will eat the amount of food that they need, and they won’t skip food if they are hungry. So, it is likely that they will stop eating when they are full, instead of continuing to eat if there is still food on the plate.
With practice, it is possible to help your child learn to enjoy healthy foods. Try these steps in your family, and see the difference it can make at dinner time. Do you need help finding delicious, healthy recipes? Try some of the kid-friendly recipes on our website, such as a frozen banana smoothie or date pecan squares. Also, check out the book Hallelujah Kids for recipes and meal plans that kids will love!