As the mother of three children, and with another baby on the way, I had to crack the food code. Dinner time used to be a really stressful time for my household. Please don’t get me wrong, there are still foods that my children resist at all cost but it is much better now than before.
I try very hard with organic and super foods especially when it comes to meat and the dirty dozen group of vegetables so my children face challenges like lentils, quinoa and brown rice. My 4-year old son now has raw oysters, salmon sashimi and raw carrots as some of his favourite foods.
After my experience with three children, here are some of my simple tips that you can try to broaden your children’s palettes.
1. Cook with your children. It helps them understand the process of how foods are prepared and if they have made the effort to prepare it, they are quite proud to eat it.
2. Stop with the snacking. Supermarkets often provide many types of healthy snacks but I realised that my children were not the least bit hungry when it got to dinner time. Since I cut out the snacks at least 2 hours before dinner, I had hungry munchkins who were much more enthusiastic about quinoa.
3. Talk to your children. We often under estimate children’s ability to understand healthy and unhealthy foods. My children are allowed cakes and sweets in moderation. (most people tell me I am stricter than most mums) but I also make sure that my children understand the health impact of their decisions.
4. Introduce new foods to the children. If they don’t like it at first, don’t give up. Many foods are an acquired taste even to adults, and if the children try it a couple of times they may just learn to eat them. The most important thing is to teach children to try.
5. Add spices to the children’s food. Often, we don’t think of adding cumin, paprika, rosemary and other herbs and spices to our toddler’s diet. They are superfoods and it makes a bland vegetable mash a little more exciting.