Getting creative with kids is one way to combat those fussy little eaters. There are many reasons as to why kids are fussy and I have my own thoughts on fussy eating which I will save for another post. Today I am thrilled to share ideas by a Mum whom I met while her family were taking some time out from their regular lives and decided to spend a few months in Bali. Lucy Van Der Riet is a trained Health Coach, Mother to 3 beautiful kids and a dotting Wife. I had great pleasure meeting Lucy and chatting over the raw cake I made for her daughter’s birthday last year. Having similar beliefs when it comes to feeding children real whole foods I wanted to share Lucy’s ideas when it comes to feeding time and share ideas to assist in getting creative at meal times.
My love affair with cooking healthy meals experienced a major crisis about 5 years ago when my first child started eating. Fussy little critic she was, and still can be for that matter. Multiply her by 3 in almost as many years and I realised my daily 5pm ritual of screaming, begging, crying “just eat it….please” was not going to cut it. I needed to get creative, so I began to think about how I could encourage cooperation. I’m happy to share some of the strategies that have eased my desire to guzzle wine every evening.
Eat the rainbow
Children love games and they also love to be rewarded. “Eat the Rainbow” is easy to integrate into your daily eating regime to encourage diversity. With your children, observe your plates for lunch and dinner and try to have as many different colours as possible (from whole food sources). Compare the number of colours to those in a rainbow. A colour chart with stars can be a helpful and fun tool. This is a great way to encourage a few extra veggies with a bowl of pasta too. It’s also a nice way to demonstrate we can’t get everything our body needs from one food. Just like a rainbow needs many colours to work properly whole, we need many different foods to help our body grow.
Who doesn’t love a good theme? This one is fun for kids and parents alike. Exploring different cuisines from different countries promotes learning on many levels. Look at the globe and see where the country is; goggle some pictures of the children eating food in that country; talk about the popular foods unique to the region and get your kids in the kitchen to help cook. Involvement and engagement can really help a reluctant eater. When the food becomes part of the story, not the primary focus, tension can dissolve. Another easy theme integration is the latest household fad. Be it dinosaurs, princesses, pirates or fairies get creative with how you align food with their passions, and why not dress up for dinner?
Fact is stranger than fiction
Creativity is absolutely your friend when developing stories and rituals around food with your children but don’t forget reality provides many examples of intrigue. Create a superhero dialogue when discussing food. Compare the different specific super powers of each food. Examples of the super hero line up can include:
Carrots – for the power to see in the dark and if you eat enough your skin can turn orange.
Broccoli – looks like a tree because it will make you strong just like a tree
Fish – helps to keep your skin and hair healthy
Blueberries – makes your heart beat strong
Where do I come from?
I regularly have to fight the urge to say, “that is so bad for you, you’re not eating it – because I said so!” But I’m taking the higher road and adopting a model of empowering my children. Try reading the ingredients of packaged food and discuss where things we can’t pronounce come from. Ask your children how they feel about putting something in their body when they don’t know what it is. Play games like where does an orange come from? An avocado, nut, potato, banana… the list goes on. This helps develop the understanding whole foods don’t have ingredients. Don’t get me wrong many times our little people will throw caution to wind to try a new chocolate bar that was so lovingly added to a party bag, but the decision was theirs.
Every child is unique and some strategies will work more effectively. For me keeping it relatable will resonate. It may sound like more work to an already busy life but trust that your efforts will be rewarded. Evoking curiosity, adventurousness and fun towards eating will contribute to building a healthy appetite.
Stay connected with Lucy through these social media channels and drop her a line
https://www.instagram.com/lucyvthevitalityspace/ or website firstname.lastname@example.org