My four-year-old is picky sometimes.
He has a love/hate relationship with food, especially vegetables. Everything is “I love it” or “I hate it”. There is no in-between. To add to the drama, a food he loved yesterday has somehow found its way to the hate list today.
Trying to get kids to eat healthy can be a real challenge; like a Spartan challenge. You know, the kind where there’s a winner and a loser and someone ends up cleaning broccoli off of the floor.
It’s important to teach kids good eating habits while they’re young. These are the formative years and the habits they create now can stay with them for life.
Although I’m a vegetable lover now, as a child, we hated each other. There’s hope yet! My mom was creative and steadfast on the issue and eventually, I grew to love those cute little trees.
Being creative can help kids ease into difficult situations, especially eating their vegetables.
Once kids think of broccoli as miniature trees and themselves as a giant devouring that forest, those little trees can be wiped out in a jiffy.
Then there’s the sneak approach. Kids never knew what hit them with this one. My kids love zucchini bread and carrot cake but we give them different names, of course, to conceal their true identity.
Honestly, the best approach is the old-fashioned try, try again. There are so many vegetables that kids are bound to like one of them. We have a one bite rule at our house. You must take just one bite of each thing on your plate every time it is served. Who can’t handle one bite? If I know it’s my kid’s most hated food, then I make an exception.
I tell my little ones that the different taste buds on their tongue grow in at different times in their lives. You never know if your “carrot buds” may have grown in, so just try a bite and see. This is a fun approach for little ones. They actually hope that they’ve grown. Kids love to think that they have grown at all.
Whatever approach you take, avoid drama. If your child will only eat one vegetable, and that vegetable happens to be corn, which barely counts, just keep trying. Insist that it remain on their plate even if they don’t eat it. They will get used to seeing new foods there and eventually, curiosity might win out.
Some kids will always be picky and that’s okay. This is not a battle, so don’t turn it into one.
Keep your goal in mind: that your child grows up to be healthy and well-balanced in their approach to life and food. Armed with this motto, you can keep right on dishing up those green beans…
and enjoying life anyway.