Monkey Joe's Blog
No More Picky Eaters: Getting Your Kid to Eat Healthy Foods
Posted on Mar 23, 2016
March is National Nutrition Month, but for some parents, it may seem like all you ever think about is nutrition! If your child is a picky eater, you probably spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not they are getting the nutrients needed to grow up strong and healthy. Read on for some ways to make healthy food fun for your kids, and mealtimes happier for the whole family.
Be a nutrition ninja.
Honesty is the best policy... except maybe when it comes to getting your kids to eat kale! While encouraging your kids to eat fruits and veggies in "standard form" is always a good idea, it never hurts to bump up their daily intake with some sneaky snacks. Check out these 15 creative ways to hide veggies in your family's food for some tasty ideas, from butternut squash macaroni and cheese to cauliflower mashed potatoes!
Use positive reinforcement.
Who among us hasn't bribed a child along the lines of "If you eat your broccoli, you can have some ice cream for dessert"? While you may think you're using positive reinforcement, kids often interpret is as a punishment, associating the broccoli they don't want to eat with missing out on ice cream. But don't worry; bribing is still on the table. Instead, try using a small, non-food-based reward. For instance, give your child a sticker for every taste of a "hated" food. And that leads us to...
Don't give up.
According to researchers, it can take as many as 20 times before kids overcome the aversion to a new food and start to like it! While your first thought may be to stop serving that food, it's best to keep serving fruits and veggies even if your child doesn't like them. There is a biological imperative for kids to avoid new foods (a holdover from the days when nibbling the wrong berry or mushroom could prove fatal), but continued exposure to the food in question and a good example set by parents can work wonders. Try serving the food in different ways (raw/baked/etc.) to liven it up, and don't be afraid to get silly with your plating.
Nutrition is so important, especially for kids. With a well-balanced diet, your kids will have what they need to grow, learn, and play hard. When it comes to burning off all that childhood energy, you can always come to Monkey Joe's for indoor fun in our soft and bouncy playground!
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