There is a lot of truth in the advice that it can take 15-20 times of serving a new food before a child will eat it. While this can feel like a long time to wait for your child to start eating broccoli it will eventually happen for most children. In the meantime, there are tricks you can use to ensure they are getting the sufficient nutrients a growing body needs.
Here are my top 5 tips: (a Mum with three children aged between 6-9 years)
1. MINCE So much can be hidden in this humble meal - finely chopped/grated carrot, celery, onion, garlic are the standard but mushrooms, lentils and courgette also pack a nutrient punch when slow cooked into the mince and go unnoticed by fussy eaters. Add a handful of chopped parsley at the end which is packed with vitamins and flavonoids. Serve in a pasta dish, with rice or mashed potato and you have a winning meal for the whole family. I love this Annabel Langbein recipe - add ½ C red lentils, finely diced mushrooms and then lots of parsley at the end - Yumhttp://www.annabel-langbein.com/recipes/mince-sauce/257/
2. SMOOTHIES Make these to your child's taste loaded with berries and fresh veggies but add some ground flaxseeds, LSA or chia to boost the good fat content. A scoop of oats added will make it more like a meal and slow down the sugar absorption from the fruit.
3. SUPPLEMENT Abeeco’s new Healthy Start Kids Vitamins were formulated for those picky eaters or kids that don’t eat enough fruit and veggies. They help build strong immune systems to fight off all the bugs, colds etc that kids tend to pick up. They pack an antioxidant punch for growing minds and bodies. Kids that get enough nutrition in the early years are more engaged and concentrate better at school plus have the energy for fitness, play and after-school activities.
4. ONE BITE RULE
Try to serve something new with something they already like e.g.…Serve their mac and cheese with an in-season vegetable and teach them to eat it together i.e. a bit of mac and cheese with a bit of broccoli or cauliflower. Leaving it till last and letting it go cold will only make it less appealing. If they screw up their nose at the something new then impose the one bite rule - they have one bite, swallow and if they don’t like it they leave it and you can try it again next time. This one is a winner, I promise.
DON’T GIVE IN
This is a tough one - they either eat the meal provided or they don’t eat. No child has ever starved from missing one meal. A peanut butter sandwich is not dinner especially when the rest of the family are eating something else. Trust us, you’ll only make things harder long term.
Most importantly -SMILE. Don’t get upset, it only makes life more stressful for you and your children. Most kids develop healthy eating habits as they grow. Tell them they are missing out on a scrumptious meal rather than get angry with them. Try cooking with them you’ll be surprised at what kids will try when they’ve helped with the preparation and cooking. Lastly, show them by eating healthy whole foods yourself and teach them how important it is to have a strong body and healthy mind - they will get the message eventually.
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