Children can be picky eaters, much to the despair of parents across the land. We want them to eat nutritious, balanced meals - and their only focus is on when they can next get a hot dog. If you have more than one picky eater - including adults! - in your household, then mealtime preparation can be a juggling act worthy of Cirque de Soleil.
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If you're trying to persuade your picky child to broaden their palate to more nutritious foods, you need to ensure you're not falling foul of the most common problems. Do any of these sound familiar?
Problem #1 - You Introduced Too Much, Too Soon
When you decide to make a move to eating more healthily, it's hard to hold back. You while away hours to perfect food preparation; you shop for produce whenever you can and delight in the changes you are making.
For kids, however, these changes can come at a pace that is too relentless. You can't expect them to go from the sugar-laden, bad for them (but tasty) food to something that feels a lot starker overnight. They may even be going through withdrawal from some of the chemicals they had previously been consuming.
When you switch the way you're eating, you have to phase it in gradually for kids or face instant rejection. Don't forget that kids can be stubborn, too - if they reject something, you're going to be in for a rough time trying to persuade them otherwise. So ensure every new item you introduce to their diets appears gradually, as you phase out the bad and phase in the good.
Problem #2 - Food Is Too Chunky
This is particularly a problem for younger children, not far from a time when all of their food was puréed (http://www.parents.com/recipes/baby-food/how-to-fruit-puree/).
As adults, we tend to cut things into thick chunks. We want to be able to taste each vegetable or strip of meat individually, so we cut quickly and at random. It also saves time for having to carefully slice a vegetable into infinitesimally small pieces.
For children, this can be off-putting - particularly if they have never experienced vegetables at such a high quantity. They see something that is large and unfamiliar and have an instant desire to avoid it. If you notice your child is eating around vegetables, consuming sauces but not the veg itself, then this might be the problem.
You don't have to return to the world of pureeing, so don't panic about that - you just need to slice veg thinner, so it hides better in the rest of the dish. Specialty knives such as those found at http://www.cutitfine.com/ can make a big difference in this endeavour. Your knives should be sharp and small enough to make decisive cuts rather than leave large chunks.
Problem #3 - They Just Don't Like It
No, this is not akin to giving up! All of us have different taste buds; what tastes good to one person will taste horrific to another. If your child is not rejecting everything but just particular items, then they may just decidedly not enjoy that item. If it's a blanket refusal, then this is unlikely to be the cause, but for single issue items, it might be worth skipping those and finding matching nutrients elsewhere.
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