10 Secrets to Get Kids to Eat Anything
Parents want their children to eat healthy, but sometimes worry that they’ll balk at new or different foods. Realistically, kids will eat almost anything if you give them a chance. Many finicky eaters are a product of their parent’s attitudes rather than their own predispositions. It really isn’t that difficult to get young children to eat a wide variety of foods if you take the right approach. Here are 10 secrets to get kids to eat almost anything.
- Start early – As soon as your child is eating solid food, start introducing them to a variety of options. By starting early, the child doesn’t have a chance to have any preconceived notions about the new foods you introduce. Once they get old enough to know what they’re eating, they’ve already developed a taste for many different kinds of foods.
- Positive attitude – Always introduce new foods with a positive and cheery attitude. Kids can easily pick up on your emotions, so if you’re worried they won’t like something, they’ll know. If you’re excited about beets, they’ll pick up on it and be excited to try them.
- One taste at a time – Don’t introduce new foods with a big helping and expect your children to eat all of it. Give them one taste and let them decide if they want to ask for more. The next time give them two tastes and so on. Eventually they’ll be able to eat a full helping without resistance.
- Don’t force it – The main secret is to avoid a battle over food. If your kids decide they don’t like something, don’t force the issue. Give them some time and try again later. Toddler’s taste buds change as they grow, so next time they try it there may be a different result. Sometimes a new texture takes them by surprise and needs a little getting used to.
- Don’t project – Kids can always tell if you’re trying to get them to eat something you don’t like yourself. Be very careful not to project your own dislikes to your child. The person who introduces new foods should always be someone who likes it themselves.
- Structure – Make sure you set a good eating schedule for your kids and stick to it. If your youngster isn’t hungry when dinner time comes, they will be less likely to try anything new. Limiting snacks between meals will make it much easier to get your child to eat at meal times.
- Don’t substitute – If your children don’t like the meal you’ve prepared for them, don’t substitute it with something else they like. This just sets you up to be manipulated at every meal time. They’ll be more likely to at least some of their dinner if there isn’t any other choice. Hunger is a great motivator.
- Make it fun – Another secret to success is to make the food fun. Arranging the food on their plate in an animal shape will make it more attractive to your kids. Use cookie cutters to cut their cheese or give different foods funny names. Calling tapioca “clown giggles” makes it more fun to try.
- Let them choose – Have a variety of different foods available and let your kids choose which ones they want to try. Getting them involved in the process gives them a feeling of independence and ownership.
- Patience and perseverance – The most important secrets to getting kids to eat anything is patience and perseverance. Give them plenty of time when you first introduce something new and don’t rush them. If at first you don’t succeed, try again and again. Keep reintroducing foods periodically and be persistent. Eventually they’ll get the idea that zucchini is going to be a regular part of the menu and they better get used to it.
If your child is refusing to eat, don’t worry, they won’t starve themselves to death. Eventually they’ll get hungry and want to eat. Once they realize you’re not going to be upset whether they eat or not, meals will go smoothly. It’s important to expose your children to a wide variety of foods so they’ll keep an open mind about trying new things. As they get older, take them to different ethnic restaurants and travel to exotic places. Make eating new foods an adventure that the whole family tries together. By limiting any preconceived notions, your kids will be able to eat just about anything.