Do you find that your children constantly turn their noses up at the food you serve? This can be incredibly annoying and frustrating for any mum or dad, but thankfully fussy eating is often a phase that most children will go through at some point in their childhood. Eventually, they will grow out of this phase and will be a lot more open to trying new foods. But, for now, you need to deal with your fussy eater and try to get them to eat as many foods as possible.
Your child can’t live off beans and toast or chips forever; it really is important that you try and smuggle in some greens and other great sources of nutrients into their diet. Ideally, your picky eater should be encouraged to eat these following foods on a regular basis.
Milk is the base of all dairy products and is an incredibly healthy ingredient that should feature in both children and adult diets. Unfortunately, not every child is so keen on the taste. It’s really important to try and get some milk and other dairy into your child’s diet, though, as it is a natural source of calcium and healthy fats. Even if kids don’t like the taste of milk on its own, they might eat it when it is served with cereal. Just don’t give them sugary cereals too often – ideally, you should give them whole-grain cereals that are full of useful nutrients. If your kids refuse to eat milk with cereal there are other ways to get it into their diet. For instance, you can serve them cheese and yogurts, both of which are great sources of dairy.
Do your kids only ever eat tomatoes when they are in sauces, like Ketchup? Unfortunately, this isn’t quite as healthy as the real deal – sure, there will be plenty of fresh tomatoes in those sauces, but there will also be a lot of added sugar and salt, especially in shop-bought ones. If possible, you need to start persuading your picky eaters to eat fresh tomatoes. These little red fruits are packed full of vitamin C so will do wonders for your kids’ immune systems – and that means you won’t have to worry too much about winter colds! They also contain lots of vitamin K and calcium, which is exactly what a growing body needs for healthy bones! And that’s not all that you’ll find in tomatoes – they are also really high in antioxidants. These antioxidants neutralize free radicals in the blood, which can cut down the chances of some life-threatening diseases.
If your child doesn’t like eggs one way, you could always cook them a different way. For example, if your kid doesn’t eat fried eggs at least they might prefer them boiled or scrambled. Thanks to these various ways of cooking eggs, there’s more chance you can persuade your child to eat them. If they are still apprehensive about eating eggs, you can add them to souffles and dishes like shakshuka to try and disguise them. Eggs are very high in protein and are a great addition to vegetarians’ diets. They also make an excellent breakfast – all that protein will ensure your kids stay full until lunchtime!
Your kids might love baked beans, but what do they think of other kinds that aren’t in sauce, like runner beans, green beans, and butter beans? The chances are that they won’t like these ones quite as much. In fact, most kids don’t like these at all and will refuse to eat them! Thankfully, though, beans are really easy to disguise and hide in meals such as stews, curries, and casseroles. You could even try making your own homemade baked beans – all you have to do is cook whichever kinds of beans you like in a tomato sauce. There are so many great benefits of adding beans to your kids’ diet. For starters, they are a non-meat protein source and also have very high levels of iron, folate and fibre.
If there is one food that kids around the globe refuse to eat, it has to be broccoli. I think that most children simply don’t eat this superfood because of the terrible reputation it has been given over the decades! Even if it is a struggle to get your children to eat all of their broccoli at dinner, there are so many reasons that make the battle worthwhile. It has very high levels of calcium and is another great source of vitamin A, which is important for good eye health and helps the body fight infection. You might find that your children are more inclined to try broccoli if you make it sound fun by describing it as small trees. It could also be worth cutting off the florets and chopping them up finely to sprinkle into stews and other one-pot dishes. That way, your children won’t even realising they are eating their most dreaded vegetable!
The majority of children will happily eat bread. However, they may not be so adventurous when it comes to their bread choice and might want to stick to white varieties. Even if your kids refuse to eat anything other than white breads, it’s important that you try and get them to eat some whole-grain varieties as well. Bread is a fantastic source of carbohydrates. However, white breads are highly processed and contain a lot of sugar and salt. As they are processed, they will have had all their goodness and nutrients stripped away during the production process to get them as white as possible. So, they aren’t half as healthy as whole-grain varieties. Not only that, though, but it’s worth finding whole-grain varieties that have some seeds in as well as seeds are full of healthy oils and fats.
Another vegetable that hardly any child will eat is spinach. Usually, that’s because they don’t like the slimy consistency of cooked spinach. However, if you start serving it uncooked in salads and as a side dish, you might find that the little ones are more willing to try it. After all, it will look just like lettuce! Spinach is full of calcium, folate, and vitamin A, so is really high in all the essential nutrients that your children need in their diets. It is also very high in vitamin C, which is important to help the body and immune system fight off illness. If your kids refuse to eat spinach whether it is fresh or cooked, you can always try and hide it in their meals. For instance, next time you make a lasagne, you might want to finely chop fresh spinach up and mix it into your tomato sauce. Your kids won’t notice it’s there!
Lots of parents try and tempt their kids to eat more carrots by telling them that this vegetable will give them the power to see in the dark. In a way, this is kind of true. That’s because carrots are extremely high in vitamin A which is needed for healthy eyes. In fact, if your kids get enough vitamin A in their diet, then their eyes will be much better adapted to seeing in dim and dark environments! This handy vitamin isn’t just good for the eyes, though. It also helps to improve the skin as well. So, you might want to tell your kids that eating plenty of carrots now will protect them from any acne problems when they become teenagers! If your kids refuse to eat carrots, you might want to see how they are with carrot soup. If that doesn’t seem to work, chop them up and blitz them along with some other veg into a delicious smoothie!
Ideally, your kids should be eating a couple of portions of fruit a day. In fact, they need to have at least five portions of fruit and veg each day. Thankfully, one portion can come from a glass of fruit juice. This is one of the best ways to get citrus fruits into their diets if they refuse to eat fresh oranges. However, you need to remember that they can only have one glass of juice each day. Otherwise, they will be at risk of consuming too much sugar. Citrus fruits are extremely high in vitamin C, which the body needs to boost the immune system.
Potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates and will provide your kids with plenty of energy to get through the day. If possible, you should get them to eat sweet potatoes as well as regular ones. These have higher levels of vitamin A compared to normal potato varieties. Both varieties also contain healthy levels of vitamin C. There are so many different ways you can enjoy your potatoes. Just remember that you shouldn’t have them fried too often as all the negatives of fried foods will outweigh the benefits.
Hopefully, you can now persuade your kids to eat all of the great foods listed above!