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Ever feel as if your daughter pushes away more food than she actually eats? Tired of watching your son move food around his plate in an intricate vegetable shuffle?
If your child suffers from picky-eater syndrome, here are eight ways to help him broaden his culinary horizons.
1. Ask your child to try just one bite
The threat of having to eat an entire portion of any food is daunting. Promise your child that all you require is a single taste.
If, after trying a new food, she still insists that it's not going to be on her menu, you should accept that statement with a nod.
2. Reintroduce foods on a periodic basis
Many kids have to try a particular food several times before developing a taste for it.
Continue to offer these foods without forcing your child to eat it. Eventually, she might just acquire a taste for Mexican cuisine
3. Serve as a role model
Let your children see you enjoy a wide variety of foods. Even if you don't push them to try it, they will see that sauteed broccoli or sweet potato fries can be delicious.
Scheduling family meals helps kids watch the adults in their family enjoying lots of different types of foods.
4. Try foods in different forms
Your daughter turns her nose up at potassium-rich bananas? Try a chilled fruit soup or a smoothie milk shake with bananas and yogurt. Often, foods that aren't so appealing in their natural state can take on a whole new appeal when "repackaged" to suit kids' tastes.
5. Don't allow kids to eat snacks right before meals
If you want your picky eater to eat the dinner you've prepared, don't give in to requests for biscuits and milk late in the afternoon. If children are hungry, there's a far better chance that they will eat the baked chicken or hamburgers you place in front of them.
6. Use dinner as a special family-focus time
Think of dinner as an opportunity for quality time rather than a chance to focus on the food your selective son eats. This way, there is less pressure on him to please you and more on sharing the details of his day.
7. Give your child a role preparing meals
Allow your daughter to help prepare dinner and your son to set the table, or vice versa, - and let them help to choose the menu.
If children have buy-in for the meal, there's a greater chance that they will eat it.
8. Become familiar with the amount of food your child really needs
Often, we think our children require more than they truly do - and when they say that they're finished, they really are. Kids don't need to eat as much as adults. We should take our cues from them and stop eating when we feel full. Being aware of nutritional guidelines can help curb the need to have second helpings.
Recipe to try
1 x 130g packet Knorr Cheese, Smoked Ham & Mushroom Pasta & Sauce,4 spring onions, chopped 375 ml water
150g smoked ham, chopped 30 ml margarine 125 ml milk
Place the milk, water and margarine in a saucepan and bring to the boil
Add the contents of the packet and cook over high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
Stir in the chopped ham
Simmer for a further 5 minutes and add the spring onions
Remove from the heat, cover and stand for 2 minutes. - www.whatsfordinner.co.za