Almost every parent I speak to asks me how to get their picky eater eating vegetables.
But, as the parent should we be “getting” our picky eater to eat vegetables, or is there a way we can make it happen almost magically?
I know from my years of experience working with families of picky eaters that there are many things we can do that support our child to become more comfortable around food.
There is also a point at which the magic starts to happen!
How do picky eaters easily eat veggies?
Let’s use a carrot as an example:
It’s important that our child has a comfort level with the carrot. The more comfortable we are with it’s look it’s feel and it’s smell, the more likely we are to eat it.
If this was us and we were faced with a deep fried cricket, we would be a lot less confident that we could eat it and enjoy it than if we were offered deep fried chicken or fish. The chicken and fish are known to us and we know what to expect from them.
How can we build that comfort level?
1. The more we see the carrot, the more comfortable we become with it. As the parent, making it available consistently is important (not pushing to eat, just having it there as an option).
2. If we can interact with the carrot this helps us to learn about it’s feel and it’s smell.
– Shop for it and put it in the basket?
– Wash it in the sink (squeezy bottles are awesome fun)
– Peel it?
– Chop it?
– Put it on or pull it off a skewer?
– Grate it?
– Drop it into the water or soup or stew?
– Use as bricks in the truck or plates for the dolls?
3. Can we put it onto the plate at meals?
4. Carrots are super versatile so we can eat them:
– Raw in batons
– Raw in wheels
– Raw – grated
– Raw – shapes
– Roasted in butter or honey (adding something that is a favourite flavour for our child is always a great start)
– Cooked in other foods – everything from a soup, stew, pasta dish to sauces or cookies and cakes.
As a parent when we start putting these building blocks into place we start to gradually support even the fussiest of eaters to become more comfortable around a food.
Over time, it stops being “our job” to get the children to eat vegetables, it becomes inevitable that at some point they will eat them. This is the magic.
If you’d love some support around eating for your child click through for an initial no-obligation chat.
Judith is an AOTA accredited picky eating advisor and internationally certified nutritional therapist. She works with 100+ families every year resolving fussy eating and returning pleasure and joy to the meal table.