Children are innocent and picky when it comes to eating or trying new foods. It takes a considerable amount of effort from both the parents and their kids when the kids are being introduced to a new food. Since the children are curious about things that are attractive and colorful, it can very well be deduced that introduction of new foods to a preschooler needs to be done in a creative manner so that it looks appealing to a child and has hopes of being given a try. Some tips to help you introduce your child to new foods.
The proper time should be judged as per the activities of a child towards the food in order to introduce new foods. Children are attracted naturally to food which is more appealing and has good smell. Children are fun loving and imaginative hence the curiosity about something will develop in their mind with its appeal. Creativity is important in food presentation. The more the food is colorful and looks fun to explore, the more chances it has for a kid to give it a try. So get moving with the creativity of the inner child in you in order to connect with your child. A vegetable salad which can be cut into shapes of stars and moon with a lot of distinctive and colorful vegetables or a vegetable car with wheels made of round-cut tomatoes. Make the shape of a cartoon character with the help of tomato ketchup or hershey’s syrup on a sandwich to make it fun n attractive. Or take a step further in this process by including the children to make their own vegetable salad and help the cut their salad themselves which will amount for their indulgence in making their own food which will amount for more appeal, since it would be like their own imaginations coming to life. Name the vegetables catchy so that it appeals to their imagination such as ‘elephant broccoli sandwich’ or ‘red riding hood carrots’.
Dips are an alternative to plain raw eating. No preschool kid would just like to eat raw vegetables in a salad even if it is cut into stars or moons. So to help with the missing piece dips should be given along with vegetable salad to change the monotonous, bland, raw taste of a salad.
Try different types of dips:
- Peanut butter
- Barbecue sauce
- Mustard sauce
- Honey mustard
- Tomato Ketchup
- Cheese spread
Sneak if required
Apart from the creative method another way to get enough veggies in the diet of a picky eater is by trying the traditional sneak-peek method of introducing the new vegetables. The simplest way to do that is to sneak or hide some vegetables into the foods that they crave the most. It might sound like a very mean idea but it works just fine. Add finely cut or shredded vegetables in the salad or food that they like such as mashed potatoes or sandwich. Include chopped vegetables mixed with flour into a tortilla mixed with healthy vegetables undetectable to kids when rolled and mixed with cooked vegetables or different dips or sauce. Add different vegetables in juices which on mixture yield good color of the juice. Since the liquid components cannot be segregated by conventional method of spotting, picking and separating it is an easy method of sneaking new vegetables into a preschooler’s diet. Sneaking carrots, beetroot into the deserts such as muffins or cookies or soups with shredded vegetables are classic examples of sneaking veggies in the diet of picky eaters.
It is natural for children to take pride into something that they have planted, nurtured and harvested on their own, so encouraging them to grow vegetables themselves is good for them in various ways. It will help them grow both mentally, by understanding the importance of nurturing a plant and physically, by growing stronger after consuming the plant that they have grown. Use of small recyclable containers should be used by children. Plants such as radish, cherry tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, peas should be given to children since those plants are easy to grow with minimum maintainance. The children are sure to eat what they have grown when it is time to harvest it. Children should also be encouraged to prepare their food which will make it even more delicious for them to consume something made off of their own hands. This can be as simple as washing and tearing lettuce for a salad or stirring vegetables into a sauce.
For you to see your children do something that you want them to develop then the first step should be taken by a parent. A parent should be a good role model for their child to inculcate good qualities of them. Children imitate adults and they do that since that is how they learn and grow. So if they see you enjoying your food ad trying various foods off the table, then it is quite possible for the children to show the same enthusiasm and try all sorts of food that is on the table. Do not expect for this to happen all at once since it is a process and takes time. But if this attitude is kept towards a child then eventually the child will definitely model it and eat variety of different foods offered. In order, for the kids to think that the vegetables are cool, first of all the parent should show intent that the vegetables are cool. This will have a significant and long lasting effect as compared to sneaking foods into their meals. Let the kids decide on their own whether they are interested in trying other foods or not, forcing something on a kid can be disadvantageous. So talk about the foods make them first aquainted with the new foods which can help with this significantly. Let them know about the different aroma, texture of the foods and also their properties and finally, don’t expect children to like everything. Everyone has likes and dislikes when it comes to food.
The important thing here is to keep it simple and fun, so relax and rest assured, your kid will grow up to be a fine adult who likes different varieties of food.