Ways to remove the dread from health foods

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That look of disdain as you move the vegetable filled fork near their mouth. The expectancy of tears as you put the plate down to reveal the dreaded pile of peas. Giving your child fruit and vegetables can make you feel like a real villain when they’re screaming in your face refusing to eat. That’s something we all go through! There are however lots of interesting ways to introduce your child to healthy food without getting it (quite literally) thrown back in your face!

Eat a Rainbow –

Children love rainbows, why not tell them if they eat a rainbow (a tiny bit of fruit or veg in every colour) they will have a happy rainbow in their tummy for the rest of the day. Do make sure you have food in every colour before pursuing this one! The more naturally colourful our food, the more nutrients we are getting from them. You could combine this with art and creativity as well. Perhaps tell them to make a face of vegetables on their pizza using as many colours as they can, kids love to be creative!

Let them play with it –

Your children should be able to play with their food. Many parents discourage this, however that discouragement can actually stagger their curiosity and eventually discourage them from eating new things. Your children should be curious about their food and how it feels, tastes and smells. Let them play with their food. That’s not to say you need to let manners become lax, but you can let them explore the food and talk to you about it.

Little Chef –

Children LOVE cooking. They absolutely love being involved with food, especially when they see the finished product. Let your child see the fruit or vegetable in its raw form before it gets cooked. Let them help chop it (if they are supervised and are big enough!) and show them how it is cooked. If possible let them try a bit before it gets cooked (strawberries, apples, courgette, mushroom). Kids respond really well to being involved and claiming ownership over their contribution to an activity and finished product.

PICNIC! –

Make fruit and vegetables part of a healthy trip out. The kids will then learn to associate food that is good for them with an activity they enjoy. If you can, get them to help you prepare a colourful picnic, then pop it in a backpack and go on a bike ride. They will be excited to eat as they have helped you prepare it and know it’s a special lunch made by them.

Make up games for them –

A fun game to play is the taste test. Kids love games but they do not like trying new things. They should always be encouraged to try everything at least once before dismissing it, this is a good way to get them to try things without any negative anticipation. Simply fill a few pots with different foods – Banana, a nut, some dried fruit, a cornflake etc. Then blindfold them and get them to try each one. You can write down what they think it was and if they liked it, then reveal at the end what was in the pots.

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