Easy Tricks To Make Children Eat Their Meals
Children are generally picky eaters and therefore parents have to come up with creative and fun ways to make their children finish their meal. It is a fact that children’s affinity to different foods can come and go, one day they might like something and the other day they might want something else. Parents become stressful especially in the situation where they introduce a new food dish to their kids. Ensuring proper child nutrition is a constant process where you need to keep encouraging your kids to have complete meals on time.
Whatever you do, it is important to take the fact into consideration that your children are still learning and adapting and both you as parents and your children are going to be fine in terms of the meal times after a certain period of time. However, it is also important to take into consideration that this is the time when you are moulding and teaching your children to eat properly and therefore you need to put in more efforts to make the meal times enjoyable for the children.
With this thought in mind let us begin with exploring the easy, handy, fun and creative tricks to make children eat their meals.
Eat With Your Kids, Be A Role Model
Kids learn from the things they see around them. They would learn some common habits and traits from you. This holds true for the meal times as well. You are your kid’s role model at home and you need to show them how important the meal time is and how important it is to finish the entire meal. If your children see you eating a lot of veggies, fruits and whole grains, they would want to do the same!
Eat along with your kids and portray that the food is extremely tasty and it makes you strong and it is going to make them strong as well. Have the same food in your plate and in your kids plate so that they are convinced that they are not given something different that only kids are supposed to eat. Let them eat the way they are eating but you should eat along with them.
Present Food In A Fun And Creative Way
Cook and present food in a way that looks scrumptious and appealing to the kids. Make it tastier by trying variations. For instance you can cook some ladies finger or egg plants recipe and add some sabji masala to it for making it tastier. Similarly you can make the nutritious homemade chenna more palatable for your kids by cooking it with some oil or sugar. You can also give fun and creative names to the curries and regular vegetables; for example you can call a standard potato vegetable as stir fried potatoes with Indian bread; the kids will find it fascinating to try a dish with a fancy name.
Omelettes can be presented in various shapes, you will get moulds for such shapes and they will be quite interesting for the children. Another interesting idea is to create vegetable tikkis and shape them as smilies before shallow frying them. You can make delicious parathas with stuffing of all the different veggies and add grated cheese to it while serving. Parathas, cutlets and tikkis can be served with tomato ketchup as kids love eating ketchup. You can buy the best quality tomato ketchup online and serve it with a variety of foods for making them tastier.
Instead of serving the usual carrot and cabbage salad you can boil some noodles or make a chowmein dish by adding juliennes of carrots and cabbage, this will make the children happy about the meal time. Think about presenting healthy food for kids in an interesting way!
Keep The Meal Conversations Positive
Have a small casual talk about the meal times with your children while they are playing or when they are engaged in other activities. Whenever you talk to your children about food, make sure that you are having a fun conversation. Nothing should make your kid feel that having the meal is a task that he/she has to complete. If you have cooked a green vegetable like cauliflower, talk to your child about how eating cauliflower is going to make them stronger.
You can also create a story around the veggies! For instance if you are going to cook spinach, you can tell your children the story of Popeye who used to get a lot of strength by eating spinach. Kids will be able to relate to it and they will find it fascinating to eat the food that the heroic cartoon character loves to eat. Also, tell your child that he is a good boy or she is a good girl because they finished the meal, this appreciation will make them happy and they will try to finish the complete meal next time as well; this is one of the easiest and the most effective ways to provide complete nutrition for kids. Basically the idea is to make kids feel good about their meals if at first they have a negative emotion about the meal, it might take a long time for you to change it so you need to be patient and thoughtful.
Offer A Variety Of Dishes
Make sure that you don’t repeat the meals too often. Your kids will be very happy when they know that their opinion is important and they get to choose their food. Therefore, you must incorporate some healthy food options for them on the table. For instance, you can ask them to choose their own add-ons for their fried rice. You shouldn’t be the only one deciding the meal, when you offer a variety of foods for your child you make him or her think that they are choosing their own meal. Let your children decide what they want to eat and how much they want to eat. This might feel like offering a lot of freedom but you are in control ultimately, offer them only the best healthy food options.
Offer all the delightful dishes like chicken, mutton, fish, eggs or shahi paneer or kofta only after the child finishes their vegetable dishes like carrots, broccoli and cabbage. You can also offer them juice along with the meals; this will make the meal more interesting for them. When you provide a variety of food items, you also ensure complete nutrition for kids.
Get Your Kids Involved In Selecting Fruits And Vegetables
This can be a fun process! When you get vegetables for cooking the meal, get your kids involved as well. Talk to them about the colour and the taste of the vegetable. Make them a part of the complete process of making the meal if possible. In this way kids will get the knowledge about different vegetables and they will also look ahead to having the meal. Take your kids along while buying fruits and vegetables if possible.
It’s a great idea to have a small kitchen garden, in this way you can involve the kids in growing the vegetables too. A small kitchen garden with a few plants won’t take up a lot of space. You along with your kids can pick fresh tomatoes, coriander leaves, lady fingers etc. for the meal time.
Make your children a part of the small kitchen activities like washing the vegetables, breaking up the greens, grating cheese etc., they will love it.
Be Patient With Kids
Whatever rules you set for the meal time, you need to take into consideration that you are dealing with kids after all. Everything might not always go as per your plan but that’s okay, you need to give them time to adapt to the good eating habits and things will slowly start falling in place. Children should never feel pressurised or as if they have been given a target of finishing the food and that they will get scolded if they do not do that. It’s okay if your child doesn’t want to eat any of the dishes you have cooked, don’t be harsh on them and don’t be harsh on yourself as well. The reason why parents try to pressurize kids to finish their meals is because they want their kids to eat a proper balanced meal with complete nutrition that will help them in their growth years.
A common question that troubles most of the parents is – how to make children eat nutritious food? And parents often get stressed out because of this. But patience is the virtue while dealing with kids during their meal times! The idea is to be persistent but not pushy! It is crucial to keep in mind that every kid is different. If some meal time trick works with one kid, it might not work with the other. Don’t give up; keep trying new things to make your kids finish their meals.
Don’t stress too much, you are doing fine as parents! Some little tweaks here and there can go a long way in making sure that your children are eating right and getting all the nutrition. Even if your child does not like a dish for the first time, make it again after some days, it takes time for the kids to accept a new taste. Refrain from using any type of negative words before the meal time. Follow some basic guidelines and keep encouraging your kids to eat right.
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