The BEST tip for getting kids to eat is to GET THEM INVOLVED. The more involved they are, the higher the likelihood they’ll eat – or at least TRY – food.
Give children a cookbook full of pictures and ask them to choose a main meal recipe that you are going to make together. You can also Google recipes – there are hundreds of online recipe sites with brightly displayed pictures, so if your child is school age ask them to find online recipes.
You can increase interest & involvement further by taking your child with you to help select the ingredients from the fruit & veg market and/or the supermarket. Older children can make the whole meal themselves with supervision, and might even enjoy creating a written ‘Menu’. Younger children may not be able to use a sharp knife or handle hot pots and oven trays, but they can still help. Give then a blunt knife to chop soft vegetables such as mushrooms, have them wash raw veges and fruits, measure out ingredients & help with mixing & pouring.
Cooking is a Maths, English & Science lesson all rolled into one, as it involves numerical equations, reading and chemical reactions and is often also a good exposure to other cultures. AND it kids closer to food – touching, smelling, tasting and experimenting with it.
ALSO TRY THESE:
- Get some small pots and have each child plant one or two herbs that they are responsible for. Herbs are tasty and highly nutritious and can be added to salads, stir-frys and sandwiches. Some herbs like mint can flavour water in summer and be used in deserts.
- For the child who hates vegetables try the sweeter varieties such as cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn, baked carrots (baking carrots makes them taste very sweet), sweet potato
- Smoothies are an excellent way to get nutrition into kids for breakfast or as a mid-afternoon snack – suggested combination – Rice milk, banana, frozen berries, organic honey, oats, yogurt. This provides protein, whole grains, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in a fun, delicious way. Kids also enjoy using a blender.
- Get in as much variety as early as possible with kids – lots of different fruits, veges & grains (not just wheat and dairy please folks)
- Replace juice, cordial and fizzy drinks with water. Water enables all required chemical and bio-electrical activity in the body and enables adequate oxygen to the brain.
- Keep chips and other snack foods as treats either out of reach or have an agreement kids must ask first. If junky food is readily available it will be harder for kids to make healthy choices.
- After school snacks – make a platter of fruits & carrot sticks with wholemeal crackers and healthy dips. Avoid giving high salt and sugar snacks as this can lead to a vicious cycle of zinc deficiency and food cravings.
- For very young children, wrap healthy snacks in foil – it’s shiny and adds a fun element.
- Sneaky tip – for kids who won’t touch vegetables – puree pasta sauce with cooked veges hidden inside (broccoli, carrots, spinach – in quantities small enough not to overpower the taste) if they can’t see them they often won’t detect them and you can decide whether to ‘fess up’ later (sorry kids, it’s for your own good…)
Lack of appetite, feeling full quickly, refusing to eat at mealtimes, tummy pains or constipation can be signs of weak digestion and possibly food intolerance. The implications are that a child may not be absorbing the nutrients that they need which further complicate health conditions.
For the child that feels full after the first couple of mouthfuls suspect low stomach acid. The level of HCL in the tummy kicks off the whole digestive process and a deficiency here leads to a domino effect that can cause, and exacerbate, health problems. SOLUTION: Give 1-2 tsp of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar in small amount of water (approx 1 Tbs) 10 minutes before meals.