Kids are notorious picky eaters. My mom frequently tells the story about my brother loving fried okra when he was little until the day he found out it was green in the middle and then refused to have anything to do with it. Then there was me who would have eaten bread and cheese for every meal and been happier than a clam.
But as a parent you get worried about your child’s growth and development. Are they getting the nutrients they need? Do I force the fruits and veggies? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, forcing food can lead children to actively dislike foods they may have otherwise liked.
So, how then do you get your child to eat healthy? The AAP suggests a few different strategies:
- Offer a variety of fruits and veggies and let them pick.
- Include them in the cooking.
- Try adding some herbs and spices to some veggies and/or protein.
- Arrange the food creatively. Kids love something that looks fun!
- Try a disliked food more than once. It can take a toddler’s taste buds 10 times or more to accept a new food!
Never hesitate to talk to your child’s doctor if you’re concerned about his or her diet. These are just a few helpful strategies but nothing to replace the professional opinion of a licensed pediatrician.