It seems we constantly hear about kids being picky eaters; it may feel like we are condemned to have a child who will eat nothing but chicken fingers and pizza. Is there anything you can do to raise an adventurous eater? Plenty actually, starting right now!
Family meals are one of the best ways to encourage an adventurous eater. Family meals promote better nutrition, eating habits and even behaviour. Babies and toddlers learn to eat from you! Babies and tots are more likely to try foods they see their parents eat. Make sure you are modelling good eating behaviour. In one survey of parents of preschool age children, the parents’ fruit and vegetable consumption was the strongest predictor of how much of these foods the kids ate. Little ones tend to like new foods paired with an existing favourite. Try to use your child’s favourite foods to add new ones.
Meal and snack schedules are very important so babies and toddlers arrive to the table hungry and wanting to eat. Don’t let snacks get within 1-1.5 hours of a meal. It’s also important to practice what’s known as the “division of responsibility”. As the caregiver, you provide the time, place, and choices for eating. Your child decides whether to eat and how much to eat.
If your child doesn’t seem to like a new food, don’t pay too much attention. He may need many exposures to foods before he readily accepts them. Be patient and try cooking foods differently (sautéed, roasted, steamed) or with different flavours to help baby learn to like them. It might take up to 10-20 times before they like it! Avoid pressuring your child to eat a food. This can backfire. Instead, use the “parent provides, child decides” philosophy – parents choose which foods are offered, but your baby should be allowed to choose whether to eat, which foods to choose and how much to eat.
The below meals and snacks provide a variety of flavours and textures to help raise an adventurous eater!
Whole grain toast topped with nut butter and sliced bananas
Omelette with finely diced bell pepper and mushrooms
Whole grain waffle with ricotta cheese and berries
Yoghurt and quinoa parfait with cinnamon pears
Chicken roll up-whole wheat tortilla with hummus and sliced cucumber
Quesadilla made with whole-wheat tortillas, cheddar cheese and cubed avocado
Whole grain toast with light tuna and carrots
Tex-Mex pizza: whole grain pita topped with tomato sauce, cheddar cheese, and black or pinto beans
Whole grain spaghetti with tomato sauce and ground beef or chicken mixed with soft cooked mushrooms
Baked fish with green beans and a sweet potato
Cheeseburger (ground beef, chicken or turkey), cut up in pieces on a whole grain roll and soft roasted zucchini
Stir fry with chicken, squash, peas and brown rice
Breaded baked chicken strips with steamed carrots and a whole grain dinner roll
Cottage cheese and fruit
Veggies with hummus dip
Happy Family Organics Kid and Tot Fruit and Oat Bars
Happy Family Organics Kid Apple + Cinnamon Fruit and Oat Bars (R100.40 for a pack of six) are gluten-free and contain no added sugar or preservatives. Whole grain oats, milled flaxseed, organic fruits and a dash of cinnamon combine for a satisfying snack that helps keep your kiddo’s engine running.
For the little ones, Happy Family Organics developed the Tot Fibre & Protein Soft Baked Oat Bars (R96.05 for a pack of six). Also gluten-free, these bars comprise whole oats, apples and spinach for a nutritious snack that helps fill up your tot’s tummy!
These bars make a great (and delicious!) snack for your little ones and are convenient to take with you when you’re out.
Our meal plans offer recipe and meal suggestions for your child. They are not designed to replace your doctor’s recommendations, nor do they take into account special nutritional needs, including allergies and intolerances. The meal plans suggest serving sizes that may or may not be appropriate for your child. Please consult your doctor to determine what is best for your child.
Happy Family Organics products are available at all Baby City stores, Babies R Us, Wellness Warehouse, Selected Clicks, Selected Spars, Selected Pick N Pay stores, Selected Baby Boom, selected Dis-Chem and selected Medicare pharmacies, and online from Takealot.com, Babiesafrica.com and Faithful to Nature