5 Top Healthy Eating Tips For Fussy Eaters
Are you the parent of a picky eater? Does your child argue, fuss and fight, maybe even cry, when you attempt to introduce some healthy food into his or her daily diet?
If so, all is not lost.
You need to know how important it is to start as soon as possible getting your child accustomed to eating healthy food. You will understand that sometimes it may take some creative thinking to do so.
Fussy, picky eaters are usually trained to be so at a very young age. Research shows that soon after the age of 2, kids can start to become rather picky if they have not already been taught to eat a wide range of healthy foods.
But that is actually good news, and the focus of Fussy Eater Tip #1, which is … Start Young
It is much easier to change the eating habits of a 2-year-old than a 5-year-old. The same is true when attempting to introduce healthy foods into the diet of your 6-year-old rather than your teen. Start young, including multiple textures, flavors and colors on your child’s plate.
This gets them used to eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, healthy meats and whole foods in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, colors and tastes.
What’s that you say? It’s too late to “start young”? Not true at all.
Whatever age your child is right now, she is younger than she will be in a few months, a year or a couple of years.
That means you need to start now introducing healthy foods to mealtime on a consistent basis.
Keep an eye on your inbox. Over the course of the next 4 e-mails you will receive 4 more Fussy Eater Tips, guaranteed to change dinner time from a battleground to an enjoyable and healthy interaction between you and your child.
Wondering what the next healthy eating tip for picky eaters is going to be?
Here’s a hint … almost all children look up to an older sibling, so why not use this psychological fact to your advantage?
Healthy Eating for Fussy Eaters Tip #2 …
You are recommended to start as young as possible introducing healthy food into your child’s diet.
But sometimes, that is not enough to be successful.
Right around the time a child turns 2 or 3 years old they begin to develop a sense of independence. This happens in many cases because your child is looking up to an older sibling. They want to be like, act like and do things like their older brother or sister.
Tip #2 is… Use Your Child’s Older Sibling As a Healthy Eating Role Model
Young girls and boys just naturally look up to their older sisters and brothers. Yes, they may argue and fight from time to time, but if you look closely, you can recognize behaviors, attitudes and verbal clues which show that your fussy eater actually respects and wants to be like his older sibling.
Get the older child involved. Tell him how much his little brother or sister looks up to him. Then tell them how important eating healthy foods is. Doesn’t he want his little sister to grow up big and strong? Of course he does.
This can also help improve the bond between your children, make both your younger and older children feel better about themselves and their siblings. It additionally removes your role as the “mean person” that is always trying to make you child eat foods that she does not like.
In either case, starting young or using a respected sibling as a healthy eating role model, Fussy Eater Tip #3 will further improve your chances of success in getting your child to eat healthy food.
It should be arriving in your inbox in a couple of days, and it makes sense for a lot of “tiny” reasons.
Tip #3… Start With Small Pieces of Food and Reward Experimentation
By now you know your child is never too young to start upon a healthy eating program. You also understand the power of role models such as older siblings in getting your child to eat food that he or she thinks is “gross” or “nasty”.
Now I want you to think back to your own childhood. Do you remember your mother or father asking you to “eat just a little” of some disgusting food like broccoli or peas? It probably worked, and was successful because of Fussy Eater Tip #3 …
Think of some food that you definitely do not like, but you know is healthy for you. Would you rather eat a lot or a little of it? You and everybody else feels the same way.
Including your child.
Instead of a full serving of peas, begin with one single pea. Cut or chop pieces of food so small that they have virtually no taste or texture. If your child doesn’t feel forced to eat a large amount of food that she considers “icky”, “mushy” or “yucky”, she may find that small amounts are not that that bad after all.
The second part of this step is to reward even the smallest positive behavior here with encouragement. Tell your child how proud you are that they are willing to eat foods they do not like, so that they can grow up big and strong.
You can even use favorite foods or desserts that you have kept hidden as a reward mechanism. When your child begins to realize that the more disgusting cauliflower he eats, the more ice cream he gets, you may find your fussy eater actually begging for healthy foods instead of resisting them.
By the way, if you are an artist, musician, sculptor or writer, you are going to love Fussy Eater Tip #4. (Don’t worry, anyone can use this next healthy eating tip to get the pickiest of eaters asking for second servings of previously hated foods).
Fussy Eater Tip #4 is Think Creatively
You have now learned the benefits of starting with small pieces of food in your attempt to get your picky eater to eat more healthy foods. Here is one way to do exactly that.
Think like an artist or writer here. Channel the mind of a sculptor or musician, anyone who thinks creatively. Because that is exactly what you want to do. Instead of cooking and presenting healthy food in the traditional manner, think how you can make it appear and taste so that your child simply cannot wait to eat it.
As a parent in charge of mealtime, as well as about a million other household and employment duties, you are often mentally stressed and pressed for time. Even so, take just a few minutes to think how you can “dress-up” the healthy food that your child thinks is disgusting.
Get your child involved when you go shopping. Take your kids to a farm or garden, where they can see how seeds planted in the earth create the fruits and vegetables that make them healthy.
Allow them to help in the preparation of the healthy food you know their bodies need. Chicken can be prepared, cooked and presented hundreds of ways. The same is true for salmon, fruits, vegetables, berries, beans and whole grains, foods that your children might find distasteful or unappetizing.
Try tomato soup instead of solid tomatoes. Let your child help you fix healthy smoothies, which can be doctored up to taste great to just about anyone.
Think creatively, and your child’s picky eating may just become a thing of the past.
In Fussy Eater Tip #5, you will discover a tip you can use in any area of your life to virtually guarantee success every single time.
You will be more successful if you start with small portions and pieces. Using a role model is another great way to remove any complaints your child may have about the food you are trying to get him to eat.
All of those are great ideas, but if you fail to harness the power of this next strategy, any of your efforts are likely to be unsuccessful.
Tip #5 is Never Give Up
Human beings are stubborn animals. (You certainly know this if you have a 2-year-old.)
So you have to stay the course. Getting your child to eat wonderfully nutritious and healthy foods is the right thing to do. So you have to outlast your child in this battle of wills.
Nutritionists and pediatricians will tell you that children often need to try a new food a number of times before they begin to accept it. If you use the creativity mentioned earlier in this e-mail series, you can deliver healthy food several times, in different forms, shapes, sizes and flavors.
Deliver smaller sizes at first, and have an older brother or sister perform as a healthy eating role model for your child. Reward even the smallest of efforts. Think creatively. You need to do all of these things, consistently offering healthy foods to your fussy child in a way that gives you the best chance for success.
Remember, children can be incredibly stubborn and relentless. So you never want to “force” your child into eating anything. This simply alienates you as a “meanie” and tyrant, and further creates resistance in your child for that particular type of food.
However, when you combine all 5 of these healthy eating tips, your picky eater may actually begin enjoying the foods he or she used to hate.