The holidays are just around the corner which means two things: lots of company and food. If you struggle with picky eaters all year round, you know that the holidays do not make anything any easier. It can be difficult to manage a picky eater during the holiday season when so much is going on and you simply do not have time to prepare two meals, one for your child and one for the rest of the company.
We would like to share with you a few tips that may ease the process of getting your kids to eat, not only during the holidays, but at any time of the year.
It can take anywhere from 10-15 tries for your child to finally accept something, so our best tip is to keep trying!! We love the one bite rule. This rule encourages your children to take at least one bite of everything on their plate. If they don’t like it, fine, but at least they have tried it and continual experimentation will eventually lead to acceptance (hopefully).
This next tip is not only a good way to get your kids more interested in the foods you are preparing, but it is also a great way to teach them life tips that they can carry into adulthood. Involving your kids in the cooking is a great way to encourage eating new things. If they are involved in the process they will be more excited about the end result because they know they’ve helped to create it. Yes, holiday cooking can be stressful, but simple things like stirring or even helping set the table can spark interest.
Speaking of inclusion, another great way to get kids to eat healthy foods they may not be very fond of is to include them in foods they are already fond of. Examples of this include blueberry pancakes, veggies in pasta sauce or spinach in a yummy smoothie. Hiding the food is a great way to include it in the diet if you are concerned about your child’ not getting enough of the right foods.
Our next tip has to do with timing and your child’s attention span. We all know toddlers can be a handful and getting them to sit still for five minutes, let alone an entire holiday dinner, is next to impossible. Our best advice for avoiding a temper-tantrum at the table is to let the kids eat earlier and separately from the adults. Plan to have them eat between 5 or 5:30 for best results and keep the meal short, but fun. Toddlers have other things to attend to and cannot be bothered with a meal (or so they’ve said).
Last but not least, let’s talk about you, the parents. Our biggest job as parents is to be role models for our children in every aspect of life, including eating. Children learn by example, so if they see you not eating something, why would they eat it? Set the example and your kids will surely follow.
We hope that these tips are helpful in your journey to a “good eater.” If you have more specific questions or are concerned about your child’s eating habits, please make an appointment online or by calling (540) 899-2555! We are always happy to help and want your kids to be as healthy as possible.