Are you one of those moms who always has to listen to “My child eats almost anything on his plate, because he just loves his food”, while you are thinking “Where on earth did I go wrong?!”. Well Mom, you are not alone… in the real world it doesn’t quite work as easily with all children, and the more we get upset and try to force-feed our precious picky eaters, the more they get resistant to eating the most valuable food groups.
Now let’s switch our over-worked-under-paid mommy minds out of auto drive and pull away in first gear with a positive and exciting outlook on child nutrition.
Here are a few tips that might help to increase fruit and veggie intake in your child’s diet:
- Offer a variety. Parents tend to cook the same things that they like, but maybe there is something out there that you haven’t tried before? Remember, children follow by example…
- Many children love pasta and pizza: Fry onion, tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and oregano, marrows, carrots, spinach together and blend until smooth. You can freeze this and use it as a base for a pizza or pasta sauce.
- Bake savoury muffins or frittatas with cheese and one or more of the following ingredients:
- Mixed roast vegetables finely chopped
4. Bake sweet muffins with one or more of the following ingredients:
- mashed banana
- cooked apples
5. Chop banana and freeze. Use as a base to make smoothies, or simply blend with milk and vanilla or cocoa powder for a nutritious milkshake.
6. Add grated carrots and marrows and finely chopped spinach or broccoli to mince when making hamburger patties or mince.
7. Research has shown that offering a certain food repeatedly (about 11 times infact) may eventually encourage children to eat that particular food.
While these guidelines can help to include fruit and vegetables into a child’s diet it remains important that a child should experience fruit and vegetables in their most natural form to get familiar with the different tastes and textures out there. Try to serve a fruit and vegetable in its natural form (raw or steamed without adding additional seasoning) with at least one meal per day.
Don’t give up, moms! Keep persisting in your quest to get your fussy eaters to eat more varied and exciting food.
Contributor: Melissa Ludick, FEMINA HEALTHS resident Dietician.