While feeding kids their regular foods is a challenge, making them eat new foods is a mammoth task at hand for parents and caretakers. Children often are doubtful and scary of the appearance, smell, taste, texture, temperature and names of the new food at hand.
To invoke a feel-good attitude and end mealtime battles with food, explore the eight fun tips below for a stress-free and adventurous eating time before the first bite.
Expand your Foodie Brain
Get hold of global food varieties and recipes along with the eating habits of children from around the world. Get an in-depth knowledge of the work of bakers, farmers and chefs. Encourage your kids to give you company while watching cookery shows.
Spice Up your Imagination
Use food ingredients in your artistic works. You can make a star shape out of a potato and imprint it on top of a Christmas tree drawing or cut the strawberries into halves to get a heart-shape and use it in your art work. Uncooked pasta, popcorn or cranberries make good elements for beautiful garlands or jewelry (These should be handled with care as popcorns and food chunks can be choking hazards for kids).
Flip the Script
Always avoid negative comments such as “My child is a picky eater”. Use encouraging and positive language: “My child is learning to love new things.” Instead of “He doesn’t like it”, say “He is not familiar with it.” These kinds of statements will boost up the spirits in your mind as well your child’s mind with a guaranteed change of attitude in your little one.
Make your Platter Colorful
Add a dash of color to the foods with red cherry tomatoes, green kiwis or purple grapes as these are nutritious as well as attractive. Do these while saying the color aloud to make the kid accept these new textures by making this a game instead of the focus being the new food involved. Whole cherry tomatoes and grapes can choke young children similar to popcorn and apples, and hence be very careful when handling these items.
What’s in a name???
Anything different or in line with your child’s interest will definitely arouse his/her curiosity. Steamed carrots carrying fancy names in the restaurants as “x-ray vision coins” would definitely influence your child to go for them. It is essential to use creative names at home or at the cafeteria to ignite your child’s enthusiasm for that food.
Children Love the Limelight
Many children love being in the limelight. Use this to your advantage to explore new foods. You can capture your child interacting with a younger sibling, a stuffed animal or a favorite superhero about trying new foods using a camcorder or bring in live audience to encourage his/her extempo performance.
Get in the Garden
Gardens not only impart knowledge of the crops cultivated but also motive children to increase their fruits and vegetables intake. From flipping through seed catalogs in the winter, to planting seeds in the spring, to weeding and harvesting all summer long, gardens can be joyful and patient teachers. Gardening is a great activity to engage in and is a sure way to grasp a child's attention. For more details on the advantages of gardening on a child's eating behavior, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.