Mealtimes with kids can be frustrating if you find yourself blessed with discriminating little palates. Kids may turn their noses up at foods based on color, texture or just on a funky whim. Although it can be tempting to force kids to eat certain foods, you may set yourself up for major food issues if you create a power struggle at the dinner table.
Make Meals Pleasant
When the whole gang is sitting around the table, this should be a pleasant and happy time. Eliminate power struggles and strife, and concentrate on bonding and enjoying the company of the people you love. Of course, everyone needs food and the foods chosen should be nutritious, but food goes deeper than this, states the University of Florida Extension. Food is at the crux of how people socialize and bond. Happy families that function well are healthier both physically and emotionally. Make sure your meal times contribute to the overall positive course of your family.
Your responsibility as a parent is to give your kids lots of healthy food choices. Your kids should have a choice about what they eat from the foods you provide and how much they eat. To make sure that your kids choose well, the trick is to offer choices that are attractive and tempting to your kids, yet healthy at the same time. Try offering the choice between a few different vegetables instead of just putting a plate of broccoli in front of your kid. Maybe he could choose between broccoli, green beans and carrots for dinner–this is an effective way to empower kids and make sure they eat foods you want them to eat.
Kids have different eating patterns from adults, so it’s important to stay realistic as you’re planning meals. Kids usually don’t overeat and they also won’t eat if they’re not hungry. If a kid has never seen a lima bean before, she’s not likely to love it until she’s tried it a few times. Adapt your expectations so they fit your kids’ eating patterns and everyone will be happier.
Nix the Pressure
Resist the temptation to force your kids to eat certain foods. The Kansas State University cautions parents that pressuring kids to eat can have several negative effects. At worst, your pressure could cause your child to resist eating, which could impact growth. Forcing kids to eat can also cause power struggles to erupt, which may cause kids to get even pickier about food choices. By backing off and providing choices about which foods, when and how much, parents help kids develop healthy eating patterns that will stay with them for a lifetime.