Have a picky eater? Tired of mealtime battles? Including children in choosing, preparing, and cooking is always a good idea as it teaches lifelong skills and allows them to be part of their own healthy eating process. Try these fun suggestions for a learning experience that promotes healthy eating at the same time.
1) Food Detective
- Buy 3 similar fruits or vegetables. For example, you could buy a red apple, a green apple, and a yellow apple. Or iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, and spinach.
- Sit down with your child to talk about how they are different and how they are the same. They are all apples, they are all about the same size, they are different colours.
- Together with your child, wash, touch, poke, squish, sniff, lick, and taste.
- What similarities and differences are there in how they feel and how they taste? Which one do each of you like the best?
Why? Trying new foods can be intimidating. This allows your child to experience the food in many different ways. It may also give you insight into how your child makes choices about eating. I know I learned that I was buying the wrong colour of apples a lot of the time! :)
2) Food Adventure
- Take your child to the grocery store or farmer’s market to choose a “different” food. Take a photo of your child with their choice.
- With your child, look at pictures of recipes with this particular food. Allow your child to choose how you are going to prepare the food.
- Include your child in food preparation as much as possible. Take photos of your child helping out.
- Try the food together. Talk openly about what you did or did not like about it. Have your child draw a picture of how they felt about the food.
- Help your child put together a collage the food adventure.
Why? Again this makes trying a new food less intimidating, and gives your child some control over the process.
3) Food Farmer
- Help your child to choose seeds for a vegetable garden. If you don’t have much space, plant the vegetables in a planter or large pot.
- Assist your child in planting, watering, and caring for their “garden”.
- Assist your child in harvesting the garden, and enjoy! For fun, compare the same item from the grocery store with the one from your garden.
Why? Research supports that children involved in producing their food are more likely to have healthier diets.
Do you need help with your picky eater? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about phone or skype consultations with a Registered Dietitian. Receipts available for healthcare benefit plans.