Kids and Food: How to Make Them Enjoy Nutritious Meal
- Involve your child in preparing simple dishes. As early as two and a half to three, children develop fine motor skills as they discover things hands on. Allow them to help out prepare food-let them wash fruits and vegetables, mix and pass on ingredients. Describe the colors, shapes, texture, smell and taste. Count the ingredients to teach them numbers. All these experiences will help children learn food and a lot more. Spike their favorite dishes with vegetables. Soups, noodles, rice, fish, seafood, egg, meat, and chicken are interesting with vegetables than served plain. Vegetables add color, texture, flavor, fiber and loads of essential vitamins and minerals. Cut vegetables creatively.
- Offer manageable portions of food to children. Serve children enough food each time. Their ability to finish their food gives them a sense of achievement. Praise them when they finish food. It builds self-esteem. Large portions may be too bulky for children, creating lack of control. This situation leaves both the child and mother frustrated. Allow young children to handle food with their hands. Young children would like to discover new things such as texture. Wash their hands with a mild soap and clean water. While we would like to train children to use spoons and forks for eating, very young children would by instinct grasp food. Allow them to touch food. It’s part of their learning process.
- Serve foods that children like. Offer foods that they like. Never force to them. Such situations are stressful for children and reinforce their dislike for these foods. Provide your children enough time to eat. Do not rush children into finishing their food. This could be very stressful for young children. Remember, proper digestion starts with good chewing. Give them time to like vegetables that are new to them. At first, children may not like the taste, color, smell or texture of particular vegetables. But as they encounter vegetables more often, they eventually get to like eating these. Give them time to get accustomed to new tastes and textures. Never scold nor spank them for not eating vegetables. It only reinforces their dislike for it. Create positive dining experiences. We love to eat cakes and ice cream because of the happy memories we attach to these foods such as birthday celebrations. Happy and pleasurable memories that we associate with food make us like the food. If vegetables are attached to traumatic experiences, we subconsciously reject them to avoid the memories of the stressful experiences we had with it. Be a model vegetable eater. Help your child develop proper attitude towards eating vegetables by talking positively about these foods.Prepare and serve these foods frequently. Show them that you enjoy eating them. Praise your children for eating vegetables. Praises can do a lot of wonders to children. Praises must be sincerely given when they show eating vegetables. Eating vegetables should be associated with happy moments. Do not make a big fuss about untouched vegetables.