Trying New Food: Many a parent wonders just how one teaches a child to love anything that is good and healthy. Ironically, it seems that most foods that are good for us are the very ones we must acquire a taste for before we learn to enjoy them. For example, I believe that brown rice is good for my children, so I decided to teach my children to like brown rice.
Solution: At our house, if you don't like a particular food, you don't have to eatr it. However, if you choose to not eat what is served, you will not get anything else until the next meal. No snacks and no whining about being hungry are allowed. This basic rule takes a lot of the pressure out of making kids eat what is cooked.
When I started serving brown rice, the kids wouldn't eat it. So, for weeks we had brown rice, the kids couldn't snack between meals. Finally, they broke down and decided to try it. Now, they like the taste, and they're open to trying almost any new food.
Does Not Like It - Not One Little Bit: My son Micah refuses to eat canned tuna. Otherwise, he is a happy, healthy eater. He enjoys fresh fruits and vegetables, including raw carrots, and eats most everything his family eats.
Situation: Since Micah is a very good eater, in general, and not picky with anything else, we allowed him to avoid eating tuna. As long as it doesn't become a game of manipulation, it is perfectly okay with me for a child to dislike a few foods.
Picky Eater: Brian was five years old when his mother brought him to visit. He would only eat French fries, noodles, and sweets. When I talked to his mom about it, she said, "Oh, he is a very picky eater, but so am I. Any other kind of food he just plays with". As a curious mother, she wanted to know what else she could do about Brian's picky eating habits.
Solution: I told her to set new boundaries. Say something like, "You have to eat what is served, or you will not get anything else until the next meal." Start with a mixture of food that includes one of his favourites. If eats what's served, really praise him. Most likely he will test the rules and only eat the foods he likes, so he'll go hungry for a couple of days. Stick to your rules and only serve food at the table. No snacks ! As long as it's his choice, once he gets hungry enough, he'll try some of the healthier foods. Then, slowly start to change the menu to healthier choice.
Note: This approach only works if everyone else in the child's environment is playing the same game.
Excerpt: Parenting Rule #1: Mom Has Fun ! A Guide to Responsive Parenting -- by Nicole MacKenzie
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !