Updated: Jan 3
Do you have a picky eater? Does your child hate EVERYTHING? Will the mere sight of a vegetable send them into a tizzy? Are "I'm not hungry" and "no" their favorite sayings?
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Make them a smoothie! It works like a charm. See my original morning smoothie recipe. You can modify it a bit for the kids and get important vitamins and nutrients into them without them knowing it.
You have to be creative with kids:
Add secret ingredients. A few tablespoons of cereal, some pears (adds sweetness). Top with a little bit of whipped cream or add an orange slice on the side of a cup. With some luck, they'll eat the slice too.
My sister put some cheese on every vegetable. The kids ate them.
Let them dip. They LOVE to dip. Dip into a little ketchup, mustard, dressing, sauce, yogurt, whatever works. If they eat broccoli with ketchup, at least they ate the broccoli.
Little touches tickle a kid's fancy and makes them interested. When my nephew was little, my mom used to feed him with a cocktail toothpick shaped like a sword. It worked wonders.
Tell the kids you are making them something special. Special makes them feel important. (We still call my maternal grandmother's breakfast of soft boiled eggs mixed in a bowl with buttered, cubed toast special breakfast. That's what we taught our own kids too) My sister asked her teenage son the other day if he wanted special breakfast!
Tell them they will have to guess what's in the delicious chocolate surprise smoothie (games are fun).
Give it a fun name. Around Halloween, it can be a potion. At the holidays, call it a delicious mocha choco latte and promise a small sweet treat afterwards.
Put it in a fun cup with a straw (kids love to drink from straws). Of course, use a covered cup if the child is still very young. A mess isn't worth it.
When you have a picky eater, you have to be inventive. The above suggestions work with husbands too (modified of course!) My husband doesn't care for vegetables, but he loves my spaghetti squash that looks like pasta. I get him to eat butternut squash as long as I tell him it's "just a soup I made." He will eat escarole if my mom adds beans and sausage (my family eats meat) and calls it soup. My husband loves soup! Why I don't eat meat.
Food is the heart of all we do. Get the kids involved. Teach them to be neat, to clean as they go. Even little ones understand how to keep their hands over a bowl or why we wear an apron and hair net when cooking. Let them wear these things with you, they love dress up.
When kids are helpers, they look more forward to eating and often taste as they go, which brings anticipation for the finished product.
Funny Story: When my daughter and niece where little, they were helping me make pies for Thanksgiving. I told my niece to be sure to keep the beaters in the bowl and not to lift them out. She said, "you mean like this?" and lifted them out while the beaters where running. I had batter all over the kitchen including the mirror on the wall behind her in my condo. For more funny stories click the green link. "I Can't Cook." Sure You Can!
Keep things light. Never force. Forcing a child to eat certain food, in my opinion, is abusive. I never agreed with that tactic. Don't turn food into a battle. The last thing you want to do is create an eating disorder(s).
Eating is very personal. Encourage, get them interested, make it fun, sneak in great ingredients and praise them when they try new things. Most of all, have a great time and create life-long memories. .
Remember: They will grow up. And one day, especially during the teenage years, they will eat you out of house and home. Their taste will change. My son, who despised vegetables, now eats many. I am still shocked when I see him eat butternut squash soup! Is that the same kid (now a man) who used to think I was trying to poison him if I dared offered a vegetable?