There are many forms of meal plans that have been discovered and reinvented nowadays, there is the simple weight loss meal plan, vegetarian meal plan, and even a weight loss meal plan for picky eaters, and many others.
However, for parents, their children’s best interest will always be their main priority, that’s why it can be very frustrating for them whenever they can’t help make their kids pick the healthier choice in eating.
Not all is in vain though, just as there are many meal plans that have been created and discovered, there are also many ways, tips, and hacks that can make children start the healthy eating habit even at their young age.
1. Start small and slowly
Start slowly and don’t startle your kids by immediately introducing a whole new meal or food. Giving them huge amounts or portions of a new meal that they haven’t tried before will most likely intimidate them and refrain them from even touching it.
Begin by offering a piece of fruit, vegetable, or meal and having them taste it, if they like it, let them decide how much they would like to eat, and if not let them continue eating and try again another time.
Eating habits are hard to break and can only completely change over time when we have adapted to a new one.
2. Set a good example
Parents are the primary role models of their young ones and is the reason why children are most likely to follow and imitate their parent’s actions, attitudes, and habits.
Therefore, it is important that you set up a good example for them to follow, even in eating habits, as you have the most impact on them and they are likely to follow your habits until they are teenagers.
3. Create and stick to a schedule
It may look like it doesn’t have that much of an impact but having a scheduled meal and snack time actually has its perks.
Sticking to a schedule will actually enable you to keep track and regulate your kid’s intake of excessive calories and junk food.
Also, having a schedule means they are eating properly, on time and will not have the need to snack from time to time. You could use this opportunity to give them healthy alternatives for their snacks as well.
4. Don’t give into their demands
As a parent, you need to know where to draw the line and make sure that your kids know who is the one in charge.
Giving in to their demands when they don’t like foods and becoming a short order cook for them, enables them to be more picky with food. Not only that, it may even arrive at a point wherein they might take advantage of this.
Nothing good will come out from overindulging a child.
5. Be patient and don’t give up
As we’ve mentioned, habits, eating habits included, don’t break off easily and takes time.
It is important that you are patient because it is your kid’s health that is on the line. While sometimes, it seems like giving up is easier than arguing with a child on how they eat, remember that, the eating habits you would be teaching them is for their own good, not only now but also as they grow up.
It might take a little effort but food presentation in a fun and creative way can actually help in promoting your kids to eat healthier.
A study finds that kids found it more appealing to them when there are more color and food variations on their plate. In fact, it would appeal to them more if they are able to decipher figures and designs on their plate.
7. Don’t force them to eat
You might think or believe that you are doing the right thing by forcing your kids to finish their meal, but you’re not. Forcing them to finish their plate or eat the last bite of their meal causes more harm than good.
By doing this you are actually promoting them to overeat. The thing is that children are more sensitive to the signals sent to their brain which tells them when they are hungry or full, and by forcing them to eat, you are disrupting these signals and unconsciously making them eat excessively.
8. Consider their preferences
Just as there are differences between adults and children, there are also similarities.
You’re not that picky with food and you know the difference between a healthy and unhealthy meal, however, you would always have your preferences in eating food.
Whether it be in terms of preparation, the strength of scent and flavor, or meal content. There are some things that you would never consider eating or tasting ever again. The only difference is that preference is only within a number of things while being picky can mean only having a limited number of preferred foods.
So try considering if there is something that you could do or change to make them consider eating the meal you’ve prepared, better yet retrain their eating preferences.
9. Get creative
Just as discussed in the previous section, if there are only minor problems that are causing your children to be picky eaters, then it’s best that you consider developing new food techniques or styles that can help your kids eat Healthy.
There are many factors that can contribute to this so it’s best that you be open and know your child’s eating preferences.
10. Get them involved in meal prep
If there are any tips that are the most fun and easiest it is this one. Other than being able to help your kids eat healthier foods, you are also able to bond with them and teach them how to work around the kitchen.
Creating meal plans and sticking with them actually helps benefits your well being as you are able to select the ingredients that go into your food, you discover new recipes, and you are able to create a balanced meal.
Also, letting children help in the kitchen, makes them learn and develop new skills and responsibility.
11. Reward responsibly
When you’ve accomplished making your child eat healthy foods, then a reward would be a nice thing to consider.
However, make sure that you are rewarding responsibly, don’t go overboard and immediately let their success take over. Make sure the difficulty of their achievement matches their rewards and keep it as simple and sentimental as possible.
12. Avoid negotiation
Just as we’ve mentioned with not giving in to their demands, you should also not give them the power to negotiate.
Giving kids the choice of negotiation gives them power over the situation, which should never be the case, as this can lead to behavioral problems. As a parent, you should know how to handle situations better and let your child understand their rights to their choices without overstepping their boundaries.
13. Avoid distractions
Just as any regular activity, we should be focused on one thing and not juggle two things at the same time.
While eating, distractions such as TV, mobile devices, and toys should be kept away and saved for later. Eating while watching TV or indulging in other activities promotes overeating and mindless eating.
14. Food peer pressure
While it might seem like a petty move, it actually works.
As the family has a strong influence on kids, using food peer pressure as a means for kids to eat healthily is effective. Also, kids wanting to feel assurance and a sense of belonging can be a big factor in this.
Just make sure you are on the right and ethical side of things.
15. Don’t judge them
Don’t say anything that might cause a child to feel bad.
Words are very powerful, and sometimes children have the tendency to identify themselves with what they have been called. Also, negative comments or feedback will likely have a huge impact on children. Whether they heard directly and indirectly.
Difficult as it can be, you need to understand that children will not easily understand what you’re trying to do, so you have to try your best to be patient with them.
While it can be tiresome and sometimes frustrating in making your kids eat healthier, know that your hard work will eventually pay off and will be rewarded in the long run.
Also, know that somewhere along the lines, they will recognize what you do for them and that someday they might become parents themselves.
Do you know any parents or anyone who is struggling in feeding picky children healthier food that might need to read this?