“My child only eats mac and cheese and a few other foods. We struggle to feed our child a variety of foods. I want my child to eat something, anything. So, we finally offer my child mac and cheese so he won’t starve.”
I see so many parents with this struggle. It is easy to fall victim to this vicious cycle. When we offer food to our children and they don’t eat their food, we feel like we should never offer the particular meal again. This results in your child eating the same variety of foods. Parents prepare their children’s favorite foods. They are confident their children will eat them. When young children are learning how to eat, they may need to try the same food many times before they discover if they like it or not. My oldest son refused eggs in all manners of preparation for about two years! Then one day, he decided he wanted a hard boiled egg. He has consumed hard boiled eggs ever since. Find out why a Farmer’s Market and CSA is wonderful for your family.
Below, are four tips to help your child receive a variety of healthy nutrients to nourish their bodies.
- STOP SERVING MAC AND CHEESE. Literally. Give your child a few days to adjust, give yourself some grace, and provide a variety of other healthy foods. Do not feed your child mac and cheese, no matter what. Its just a few days – you can do it. In a few days, feel free to offer it back to them on occasion. The intention is not to deprive them of the foods they love, however, you are in control of what they eat. Provide them foods other than mac and cheese.
- WHAT DO WE EAT? Offer a variety of healthy food choices. Foods can be simple, easy and enjoyed by the whole family. When you offer an assortment of healthy choices to your children, you are fueling their bodies. The following examples below are filled with nutrients. Children can also help to prepare these foods. Examples are, but certainly not limited to:
- Gluten-free or sourdough bread with almond butter and organic jelly or raw honey
- Banana or organic apple slices with sunflower butter
- Zucchini noodles with grass-fed beef and tomato sauce
- Wild-caught salmon with lemon, steamed broccoli and rice
- Whole milk yogurt with good quality granola and fresh berries
3. INVOLVE YOUR CHILDREN IN THE FOOD PREPARATION. Children, and mamas too, are more interested in something if they have had a part in the creation of it. Children (even very young children) can help prepare all of the above meal examples in tip #2. By participating in food preparation, children are more inclined to taste test what they directly helped make. Please alway make sure to assist your children and supervise as needed. Your children can learn and help you by: gathering ingredients that are accessible to them, opening jars, bags, spreading the foods on the sandwiches, spiralizing vegetable noodles, squeezing lemons, adding garnish to dishes, and washing fresh fruit or vegetables.
4. EAT MEALS WITH YOUR CHILDREN. When it is possible, sit down and eat meals with your children. Lead by example so your children will see you eat the same foods you are asking them to eat. Children really are constantly learning from everything they experience, see and hear. When you sit beside your child, and eat the same foods together as a family, you are reinforcing their good eating habits. Therefore, your children will begin to eat the same variety of foods you are demonstrating.
Stick with this parents and you can do this. Remember, you are their primary and first source of nourishment and you make the decisions. It may be a tough few days, but you can do this. I have seen it work with my children. Pave a path for your children. With your efforts, they will experience a wealth of nutrient dense and healthy foods, in just a few days time.
Our boys are pictured below. We made homemade whipped cream with just a few ingredients and it therefore turned out amazing. Finally, we topped our gluten-free pancakes with the cream.