According to national studies conducted over the years, 56% of American kids eat foods with less nutritional quality. What makes matters even worse is that most kids in the US tend to be picky eaters and usually turn their attention to sugary desserts. For some parents, a travel experience with a picky eater can be a nightmare as nothing seems to spark an appetite for good food. Here’s what you can do to remedy the situation.
- Avoid allowing kids to binge on juice and drinks during the day
In a bid to get these young ones to eat something to fill their stomachs, some households allow excessive juices and sugary drinks. Often, the perception is, if the kids refuse to eat properly, it’s alright to get them anything to prevent them from going hungry. That is well understood. However, the principle here is to avoid possibly bingeing on these sodas.
Non-nutritive fluids only occupy so much space in your child’s stomach and leave no room for food at dinner time. Moreover, the consumption of sugar content in these drinks during the day suppresses your child’s hunger hormone. That way, when it’s time for dinner, nothing on the dining table looks appealing or appetizing to them.
Therefore, instead of allowing several cans or bottles of soda, encourage water intake instead. What you can also do is limit soda intake to twice a week. It may seem impossible to do, and you may encounter some resistance from your little ones, but it’s the best thing for them.
- Get creative with the few foods they love
No matter how picky an eater your child is, there must be something or a few nutritional foods they adore. For example, most kids love fish sticks, and if that’s your situation, you’re in luck. You can do several things with fish sticks to make them complete and healthy meals at dinner time. You can try this fish sticks recipe available here to see how much positive change it may bring to the dinner table. Being creative with the few meals your picky eater loves makes dinner time exciting as they think about what else you’re going to do.
Furthermore, you just might be in luck with the cookie cutter. That kitchen tool is not just for pastries. They can be used for vegetables as well. Therefore, when your kids see vegetables cut out into creative shapes they recognize, that alone can move them to lick the plates clean.
- Sugary desserts shouldn’t be a constant option
Sweets after meals happen to be a natural craving people have after a full meal. For a picky eater, however, dessert can be varied. In other words, try to include a variety of ‘lighter’ and healthier dessert options. Remember that your goal is to get them to try new foods as often as possible, including dessert. For example, try natural yogurt with fruit serving as an alternative. The idea is to make every meal or, in this case, dessert, count as a nutritional food.
Last but not least, if you can involve your kids in the decision-making around food preparation, it could make a difference. Your child will feel a sense of ownership, having been involved in making healthier food choices for dinner.