Feeding Fussy Kids

LIFESTYLE

Getting fussy eaters to try new foods can be uniquely stressful. As a mother and food blogger, Kathrine Lynch has been there, done that and figured out a few tips and tricks.

She suggests presenting fruit and vegetables after school, when children are hungry and more likely to eat them without complaint. Make a platter of carrot and celery sticks, crackers, hummus, apple slices and mandarin segments. Serve with yoghurt for dipping the fruit.

“Have plenty of colour on the plate to make it really appealing,” says Kathrine. “Young children are tired by dinner time so you will often have more success getting them to try new foods earlier in the day.”

Don’t overload the new flavours. Try one new food every few days. “Encourage them to just try it and if they don’t like it, it’s no big deal. Just try again next time.”

When possible, gather the whole family for dinner, with everyone eating the same foods; lead by example.

Keep a few recipes in your arsenal that are suited to subtly adding extra vegetables. Grated carrot, grated courgette and mashed pumpkin or kumara are all good when added to spaghetti bolognaise, chicken pie, bacon and vege bake or lasagne. Mince that can go on pasta, in tacos, on toast, in pies or on rice is an especially versatile way to pack in some non-threatening healthier options, such as lentils or kidney beans.

When you’re cooking, ask the children to help out, says Kathrine.

“Involve your children in planning and cooking meals. Wraps are a really easy meal for kids to help make, burgers and pizzas are also great ways to get children cooking and enjoying trying new foods.”

Finally, educate your children about basic nutrition. If they understand what food does for their body and how it can affect their energy and concentration, they are more likely to eat well.

“Avoid talking about foods being good or bad,” says Kathrine. “A good way to explain it is that food is fuel. Just like petrol is fuel for a car, food is fuel for our bodies.”

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