If there is anything a mum of toddlers or older kids knows it's that they can be very picky when it comes to food! But hey! Give them biscuits and chocolate and fizzy drinks and they'll never say no...but that doesn't mean that you should.
How great was it when they were younger at 6 months when you would blend everything in sight that was filled with nutrients and vitamins and they'd eat it all up with a smile on their face...ah those were the days. You might not be able to get those days back but you can start getting your children to eat better today...it'll be hard but well worth it!
HIDE THE SNACKS!
What can't be seen can't be eaten! right? Hide all snacks that you don't want your child to fill up on before meal times - that includes you Momma! No snacking before meal times! Remember kids watch your every move and learn good and bad habits from their parents.
PLAN YOUR MEALS!
Planning your meals doesn't mean having a strict meal time schedule and specific meals for specific days but just try and know what you're going to cook early on during the day and start earlier than you normally would so you don't end up rushing the cooking process and feeding them whatever is easy at that time (There's no shame in that Momma! I do it all the time!) Planning the meals also gives you a good insight into what vegetables, proteins, carbs etc is on their plates.
GIVE THEM THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE!
When it comes to children they want control! And some parents think that's a bad thing...but it's not if you use it correctly...that doesn't mean you give them the total control over what they eat but you trick them into thinking they have that control... let me give you an example:
MOMMA: Charlie would you like sweetcorn or peas with your fish?
MOMMA: Sarah which colour plate would you like to have for your lunch?
This way the child feels in control but in reality you're in control by giving them the options...which in return leads to less tantrums during mealtimes.
VARIED AND COLOURFUL!
Providing a varied and colourful plate for your child is not only the best option for their health but it gives them alot of options to choose from and makes it very interesting rather than having a dull plate of all green food or dry pasta with potatoes and rice...can you see how boring that can be to a child?
PRAISE! PRAISE! PRAISE!
Children blossom when praised...instead of punishing them for leaving the table or refusing their food try praising them for having a bite or sitting still while waiting for their food...you might not think it's necessary to praise them when they are doing what they are expected to be doing but they don't see it that way; to them they are putting alot of effort into sitting at the table and eating when they could be flushing their toys down the toilet bowl...
JOIN THEM AT THE TABLE!
A lot of mums likes to give their children food and get stuff done around the house (guilty!) but that's not making anything better...try and sit with your child with a similar plate for yourself, engage them in conversation and encourage them to eat by watching you eat. Talk to them about their day and see what a difference it'll make! I guarantee it!
WORST MISTAKE YOU CAN MAKE?
I've heard alot of mommas tell me they make this mistake without realising - I did too! Till I realised the implications it had on my toddler and her eating habits...
If your child refuses a meal DO NOT REPLACE IT WITH SOMETHING ELSE! I hear alot of mommas say "But he'll starve if I don't give him his bowl of Coco Pops!" and that's not true! I understand that as a mum you want to make sure your child is fed no matter what but why would they eat the food you choose for them when they know it'll soon be taken away and replaced with something they like and prefer. If they don't want that plate then you take it away but bring it back again later - THE SAME FOOD! And you tell them that that is all that is available - with lots of encouragement of course!
What are your thoughts? Do you have picky eaters? What are some tricks you've used to combat that?