Meal times can be stressful and chaotic. But meal times with a picky eater can be especially stressful. Here are some simple strategies that could help turn your meals into a more enjoyable time of day:
1. Use your imagination:
- Carrots become “X-Ray Vision Carrots” and broccoli becomes “Dinosaur Trees” in an effort to keep your child engaged and interested in the food you provide.
2. Get creative:
- Use cookie cutters or food coloring to turn familiar food into something a little whimsical and intriguing.
3. Involve your children in meal planning and prep.
- Let them look at cookbooks to choose a new meal idea for the week. Bring them grocery shopping to choose a new vegetable for dinner.
4. Grow your own food:
- Planting a garden can get children involved in the whole process of creating food. A tomato they plant from a seed might taste infinitely better than one bought from the store.
- If your kids won’t eat vegetables, experiment with dips. Just because you think a carrot dipped in ketchup might not taste very good doesn’t mean your kids will agree.
6. Make food fun:
- Arrange food in patterns on the plate. A sandwich with strawberry eyes and a pepper slice mouth is more interesting than a plain old sandwich.
At the end of the day, our kids learn through play. Having fun with the process and creating positive experiences around food is a great way to reframe mealtime for your kids – and to encourage them to try new things. So put on your creative hat and have some fun!