By Jane Marsh
When it comes to your kids eating healthy, mealtime can sometimes be a challenge. Younger kids are often picky eaters, constantly asking for mac and cheese or nuggets. The good news is, there are some tricks you can try to encourage a more balanced diet. Here are five ways to get your kids to develop a more diverse palate.
1. Prioritise Mealtime
Set aside time to eat together as a family. Put away tablets and phones to be fully present in the moment. This can make mealtime more exciting and distract your picky eaters. Make sure to cook one dinner for the whole family, even if your child doesn’t want to eat it. This can encourage your kids to try something new.
To help make your kid more interested in the meal, try to include at least one food they do like.
Also, when meal prepping, plan balanced dinner options with a mix of vegetables and protein.
Remember, too, that mealtime can improve parent-child relationships. This can reduce the risk of your child developing behavioral problems later in life.
2. Expose Your Kids to New Foods Multiple Times
Even if your child refuses to eat the food the first time, keep trying. Offer them food they initially disliked multiple times. Also, consider changing up the presentation to see if that helps. For example, try different meal prep methods, such as broiled or roasted. When serving the food, keep portions small, making your child feel less overwhelmed.
Also, try creating a consistent schedule for meals and snacks to ensure your kid is hungry when introducing the new food. Consider adding some seafood to their diet. Seafood can help boost their immune system while diversifying their palate. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help with inflammation.
3. Offer a Variety of Foods
When making meals, incorporate various healthy options, such as fruits, vegetables, and proteins.
Even when meat is your main ingredient frequently, remember to still throw in those vegetables.
Lowering your child’s meat consumption is both good for their bodies and the environment. Red meat has high levels of saturated fat, which can lead to heart problems. Also, the meat industry causes pollution through methane and greenhouse emissions. They also require more resources to raise livestock. To reduce your meat intake, start small. Consider swapping out a beef burger for a bean-based one.
Adding variety is a great way to expand their taste buds. Consider making a smoothie for an after-school snack to sneak in some fruits and veggies. Also, try experimenting with simple herbs and spices for more flavour.