I’m a nutritionist and here are 10 ways to deal with picky eaters – and why kids SHOULD have dessert every day
While nearly three-quarters of parents say their kids are picky eaters, a nutritionist has revealed that family vacations can actually inspire kids to shake up their meals.
Children’s nutritionist Sarah Almond Bushell revealed that children change their eating habits when food is a pleasurable experience and it’s really important to help them use all of their senses.
She said: “Eating shouldn’t be a chore and repeatedly encouraging experimentation through discovery and play and involving children in their food choices is the key to expanding difficult palettes.”
As a result, TUI BLUE decided to launch Adventurous Appetites which features food-related activities such as Odd Bites where kids can try very unexpected food combos.
And Kids Á La Carte, where children are responsible for opening their own restaurant and the first customers are their parents.
When questioned, 90% of children revealed that the strange food combinations they tried included noodles and melted cheese, fries drizzled with chocolate, pizza topped with cornflakes, broccoli and cream icy.
Sarah shared the top ten tips to help parents encourage more adventurous appetites.
Children’s nutritionist Sarah Almond Bushell has revealed that children change their eating habits when food is a pleasurable experience and it’s really important to help them use all of their senses (stock image)
1. Follow a role model
Feeding times help little mouths feel safe and satisfied. Plan times for meals and snacks, leaving at least 2.5 hours between each. Resort meals can help establish these routines.
2. Find time to eat as a family
Holidays offer a great opportunity to share meals together away from the daily stress.
Eating with your kids helps introduce them to unfamiliar foods while they watch how you eat and follow your lead.
3. Don’t stress
It’s easier said than done, but taking stress off the table will encourage kids to eat more. Parents should focus on providing food, while children decide what to eat. Use our Healthy Eating Challenge to put kids in control so they can choose based on the scorecard – and collect rewards.
4. Serve as a family
Set the table with a variety of serving dishes and have your kids serve themselves and you from the selection of dishes. It’s a great way to use up your resort’s all-inclusive buffet and make your little one feel like they’re always in charge of what goes into their mouth.
5. Insert a teach plate
Use a side dish for a small amount of new food and encourage kids to explore it using their 5 senses, not just their taste buds. Learning through play and experimentation is important – and at least during the holidays, someone else can help with the mess!
6. Try it before you sell it
Make sure kids see you trying new foods and commenting on how delicious they are. Don’t force them to try new choices, but arouse their curiosity. Action speaks louder than words!
7. Make food fun
30% of parents have used cookie cutters to make their children’s food more interesting.
As kids “eat with their eyes,” make sure the food looks nice to encourage more bites. Why not try the Healthy Eating Challenge to reward your little ones when they try new foods in different colors.
8. Talk about food
Focus on food, not eating. For example, talk about where the food came from, its color, taste and smell, not whether or not your child ate it or even liked it.
9. Choose desserts of the day
While 41% of parents use sugary treats to encourage adventurous eating, it’s best to make dessert a normal part of every meal rather than a reward for kids after they clean their plates. In short, drop them on the dessert buffet!
10. Be active
Take advantage of the holiday season and plan an intense activity every morning.
Activities like taking them in the pool or a trip to the beach will help your child come to the lunch table with an appetite and enough preparation to want to try new foods.