Parents will do just about anything to get their children to eat healthier. Unfortunately begging, threatening and bribing only go so far and usually cause more stress for the parents than the children. Children can be stubborn!
The infuriating thing for me is that my son will go to daycare and eat everything put in front of him – apple, orange, spaghetti bolognese – you name it. However, the minute he gets home he turns into Mr Fuss Pot.
Many an evening he will sift through his meal to extract the tiniest hint of something that might be green, because, he doesn’t like it. We have been creative in the past hiding things and have somehow managed to convince him that broccoli is not in fact a vegetable! We’re not sure how long this will last but are going with it for now.
I myself remember hating pumpkin and brussel sprouts as a child and gaging at the first sight of them on my dinner plate. While this makes me laugh now, at the time I am sure I drove my parents crazy.
My son’s food kryptonite is string beans – the minute he sees them on his plate he starts gaging, it instantly takes me back and I cant help but burst out laughing at the sight. I am not sure if it is the taste or texture that bothers him. He also refuses to eat potato in any form other than a chip!
Here are a few things that have helped me:
- Avoid mealtime battles altogether. If after 10 minutes nothing has been touched I simply put it on the kitchen bench and tell my son this is the only thing he will be eating tonight so when he gets hungry later it will be waiting. At first this was met with frustration on his part, as he wasn’t getting the chocolate he actually wanted. However, after only 3 days he knew the rules.
- To introduce him to new food, I cook a dish that he loves with one sneaky new item.
- I let my children feed themselves, with a little help of course. I’ve found by engaging them in the act of eating (despite the complete and utter mess) they are more inclined to explore the food and therefore eat more of it.
These days there are so many wonderful children’s cookbooks and cooking classes to assist parents with fussy eaters. It just takes a little more effort and a lot of persistence.
If you’re looking for great cooking experiences to enjoy with your kids, check out these cooking classes in Bondi. These lessons have been developed to help kids gain more confidence in kitchen so they begin to develop an interest in cooking up delicious, healthy meals.
By Renee Welsh
Renee Welsh is a mother of two and the general manager of GoDo.com.au, an online experience company encouraging people to enjoy life and make the most of their leisure time.