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There are children who love to eat and will eat anything you serve them, but I think those children are the exception, not the rule. Most of us have children who give new meaning to the term ‘picky eater’. My little boy not only doesn’t like cabbage, he refuses to eat anything that had anything that looks remotely like cooked cabbage cooked in it—even if I separate the cabbage out, even if I explain to him, with all honesty, that it really is onion, not cabbage. He likes onion—until he gets a piece that resembles cabbage. Cooked cabbage is number 1 enemy at table time.
The Grand Parental Subterfuge: Disguising Healthy with Fun
What can you do to get healthy nutrition into a child who seems to think his entire diet ought to consist of Frosted Flakes and Fritos? Setting a bowl of your favorite healthy, nutritious food in front of him just won’t cut it—I know, I’ve tried. But what you can do is make eating fun, and if eating is fun, even the fussiest child will jump right in and gobble it up.
Here are three of my favorite ways to make eating fun for my children:
• Dress it Up with Cookie Cutters: Boiled carrots are just boiled carrots, until you take the slices and run them through a little elephant cookie cutter. Then they’re baby elephants, just dying to get into your child’s mouth. Stock up on a collection of cookie cutters, and use them on sandwiches, vegetables, meat loaf, boiled rice patties, and anything else you can think of.
• Make it a Picnic: Somehow food tastes better if it’s eaten somewhere other than regular eating spaces. Picnics don’t have to be long trips to the amusement park; pack a basket with a healthy, fun looking lunch, add a pretty tablecloth on top, and take it out to the back yard or porch for a special picnic and some invaluable quality time with your child.
• Switch Out the Snacks and Meals: Your fussy child may devour his snacks and refuse his dinners—what about if you arrange his dinners to be finger-friendly and serve them to him as snacks? If it’s served to him while he’s watching his favorite cartoon, he may go through a bowl of baby carrots or a dish of tooth-pick pricked, bite sized slices of vegetable-chicken tortilla roll-ups just as quickly as he would go through a bowl of potato chips.
What are your favorite ways to spice up things and make eating fun for a fussy child?
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