Are your kids fussy eaters? A recent BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour was dedicated to the subject and is worth a listen if this is something that affects your family. In my work with children, it is a hot topic for discussion amongst parents. So, here are a few tried and tested tricks that might encourage them to try something new.
- If your child point blank refuses food, then instead of persisting and getting into tantrum territory, just ask them to lick the food. This is less daunting than having to ‘take a little bite’, or ‘go on, just try it’.
- Get your children into the kitchen – from the very young to older kids, cooking with your children can help encourage them to try foods you never thought they would eat. If you have small children, simple tasks like getting the peas out of the freezer, stirring some food in a bowl or helping to chop herbs with scissors can get them involved and interested in food.
- Allow your kids to cook – once a week set a family challenge for your children. Ask them to cook dinner for the family. Who cares if you end up with beans on toast – we all have to start somewhere. A couple of websites I like are Jamie Oliver & Donal Skehan (Donal Skehan looks like he belongs in a boy band, so is perfect for encouraging teens that cooking is cool!).
- Deconstruct your dinners! – instead of plating food up, set everything in the middle of the table and let children choose what they want to eat – they might surprise you by the choices they make! A perfect dinner to start this way is a family roast, or fajitas.
- Take kids shopping – get them involved in choosing foods that they want to eat. Start in the fruit & veg aisle and ask them what they’d like to eat. You might end up with foods you would never buy, but so what, if it gets them interested in eating good food?
- Visit farmer’s markets, shop at greengrocers and support your local shops. It is much more fun to go food shopping at farmers’ markets and farm shops, where you can get to taste and have a nibble of some samples. This is a great way to get kids thinking about where our food comes from.
- Grow something! Even just a pot of herbs. If your child has grown their own food, chances are they will be proud of it and want to eat it.