I wish I could say that my son is a naturally healthy eater but I can’t. He seems to have been born with his father’s sweet tooth. Which, to be honest, is quite frustrating for me since I happened to be one of the rare freaky children that would eat a whole head of steamed broccoli on its own for lunch. You could find me on a regular basis sneaking into the neighbor’s garden to steal a cucumber and a few cherry tomatoes.
So, with that being said I have had to find creative ways to get my son to eat his greens and some days just getting him to EAT in general. He is actually quite good at eating his fruit- as long as his fruit is strawberries, grapes, or oranges.
Alright, let’s get down to the sneaky tricks to get your child to consume anything other then snacky crackers and juice!
1. Cut food into interesting shapes. I cut strawberries horizontally so that they look like donuts. Your little one can put his finger in the hole and it makes it more fun. I also cut sandwiches into triangles or use a star cookie cutter. It helps teach your child about shapes too!
2. Give your child a fork (kids fork). I think kids find eating more fun and also makes them feel more like mom and dad when they use a fork. I like to show Bub how to stab the food and make some kind of stabbing noise to help it look really amazing 😉
3. Add a little sweet. I’ve tried so hard to get Bub to eat what I want him to eat and at some point I just had to realize I needed to make a compromise. So I decided as long as I can get him to eat the main healthy part of the meal then it’s ok to add a little something else in order to get him to eat it. For example: I want him to eat oatmeal in the morning. He won’t eat if it isn’t sweet enough. So I have started adding more honey to it. Some days I will even add a few chocolate chips to it. I also do this when we have a batch of strawberries that are a bit sour. I will drizzle some honey over them and then he eats them right up. Honey has become a staple in our home!
4. Dip! Dip! Dip!
I don’t even think Bub will eat anything these days without being able to do dip into something. I can get him to eat broccoli and carrots as long as he can dip them in Ranch dressing. Yes…sigh… Ranch. But hey, if he’s eating broccoli…whatevs!
I also have tried veggie dip and he likes that too. Honey is a good dip for fruit. I can even get him to eat his wheat quesadilla by dipping it in mild salsa. You could get creative with different things for dip such as Greek yogurt, jam, peanut butter, Apple sauce, etc.
5. Don’t let your little one eat snacks. I’m totally guilty of this one. Snacks are my go-to when we are out and about (it keeps him quiet!). But yeah, the snacks are a big reason why kids don’t eat their meals. They get full off of the little things they are eating and drinking (juice is also a snack). Your little one is way more likely to eat what’s in front of her when she’s actually hungry!
6. Explain what they are eating. I’ve found that if I talk about the food and exaggerate it’s amazingness he’s more likely to eat it. I will tell him how sweet and juicy the grapes are and show him as I bite down on them. Or how crunchy and yummy the rice cracker with almond butter is.
7. Try eating in a different environment. I was shocked one evening when we had dinner at a friend’s house. Her son and my son ate side by side. Bub does NOT eat asparagus. But that night he did! He saw his buddy eating it so he followed suit and seemed to really enjoy it! I was stunned. So now I try to find fun places we can eat. Picnics outside, at the outdoor Cafe, at the park, at a friend’s house, or even moving the highchair to a different location in the house.
8. Keep trying. If you introduce a new food don’t expect baby to like it right away. Keep introducing it. Maybe try preparing it in different ways too. I found that Bub will not touch cooked carrots no matter what. But raw carrots are a different story. He’ll eat raw carrots dipped in Ranch dressing (of course!). Oh, and he won’t eat peas unless they are FROZEN!
Note: if you give your child raw carrots make sure to cut them tiny and to supervise while they eat as these can be a choking hazard. And remind them to chew, chew, chew!
9. Make it fun! Let your little one discover the fridge on their own. Let them point to things that they might want to try. You will be surprised what your little one likes. I was surprised that Bub LOVES dates, pickles, black olives, and, oddly enough, lemon!
10. Be creative but don’t make yourself crazy. I sometimes drive myself crazy trying to find new recipes for Bub. I spend so much time making new food only to have it rejected, and sadly, wasted. So instead of using so much energy inventing new meals I stick to the basics of what he likes. Keep it easy. Kids don’t eat so much any way. A bit of chicken, a few grapes, a little cubed cheese… voila! That’s lunch. He can eat it everyday. As long as he’s eating, I’m happy. Don’t reinvent the wheel. I now use my creativity at the grocery store. I pick out a couple interesting food items he might enjoy like fig butter, rice crackers with seaweed, sunflower seeds, banana chips, etc.
Oh, and one last thing… Make sure to set a good example. You should be eating the food that you want your child to eat. And make sure that you eat with your child. This encourages good eating habits for both of you 🙂
Well, hopefully these 10 tips can help you and your Bub eat healthily and happily. Every day is different and some are better then others. If your Bub isn’t eating everything on his/her plate or isn’t even eating half of it don’t stress. Tomorrow or even next week will be a new and better story.
Feel free to let me know your tricks! I can always use them!
Mum n Bub