Fussy eating can ruin everyone’s day. From the child who gets stressed being ‘forced’ to eat things they ‘hate’ causing scenes not out of place in The Exorcist, to the parent who is petrified their youngster will be deficient in 97 million nutrients and riddled with sickness.
It may sound dramatic but for some, these battles can be daily, and they can really wear a family down. So the temptation to serve only foods that we know will be well-received can be understandably overwhelming at times. But at the back of our mind, we know we’re only further compounding the problem (and the guilt) when a beige freezer fest makes its way onto the cartoon plates.
So how can you help your child to have a better diet? We’ve already shown a few tips in our Fussy Easter blog. But as it’s such an important issue we’ve come up with more tips to enforce nutrition with minimal misery.
Try, try and try again
As human beings, we are programmed to be wary of new things thanks to our caveman days when new could equal danger (think foraging for berries and accidently killing your clan – whoopsie.) So whilst I can’t say I’ve ever been afraid of a new pair of shoes, I have seen this default reaction in my kitchen. A ‘new’ food is presented to a tot/tween/teen for them to proudly declare they ‘do NOT like it’. But how do they know?! They don’t of course, so their confidence is impressive, if a little scary. But it’s frustrating when you explain they don’t actually know anything as this is brand new to them. Cue dramatic gagging noises the minute it gets near and a smug face which says, ‘I told you so’.
Of course, they may not like it. Just don’t stop there. It can take as many as 10 times of trying for a child to accept a new food or texture so as tough as it might be by attempt seven, just another few more tries may crack the nut, so to speak.
Crouching pepper, hidden onion
Trying and reasoning, bartering and patience are fine but let’s face it – sometimes (most times?) it’s easier to just not. So what’s the alternative? Secret vitamins from hidden veg! I do want them to enjoy veg in its own right but this can be a lifesaver to shoehorn some nutrition into fussy kids.
How? Grated courgette disintegrates so is practically undetectable in mince-based dishes. Blend peppers and other veg into pasta or curry sauces and it’ll look just like what they are used to. Grate onion or carrot into burgers. Cut and bake parsnips to look like chips. Blend fresh strawberries into smoothies and call it a milkshake.
Once you begin your quest of hiding treasure hopefully no one will find, you’ll become even more creative!
Give it a try!
There are a couple of tips here for you to try and we hope they help. If you think of any other ways to hide veg or indeed any other hacks to increase vitamin intake, please share them. And remember – when all else fails, potatoes and milk are filled with nutrients so give them some mash!
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