As Thanksgiving approaches, there’s no better time to have a conversation about food! However, for parents with picky-eaters, the holiday season can deliver a special challenge when it comes to introducing new foods. But fear no longer! Listed below are a few tips designed to encourage healthy habits!
Involve your kids: As children navigate through their interests and tastes, they begin to learn the importance of choice. Involving your child in meal planning teaches them the ability of making decisions and grows their interests in eating various foods. Providing them with options such as which vegetable to eat at dinner or which sandwich to pack for lunch may increase their willingness to eat more foods!
Make it fun: No matter your level of expertise, cooking can be fun! Taking your children to farmers markets or including them in tasks such as mixing, stirring, or pouring are all ways to expose your children to healthy food habits while creating a fun environment. Intertwining their favorite imaginative play settings such as “restaurant” or “store” are also great ways to expand their interests!
Keep trying: Just as a child’s interests change, so do their taste buds! But don’t feel discouraged, when introducing new foods and flavors, it may take your child a few chances to fully adapt. For most children, these are brand new tastes and textures they might not be familiar with. Incorporating new foods into meals every so often gives your child the opportunity to adjust without feeling pressured.
Familiar flavors: If there is a specific food or flavor your child has accepted, explore it! Familiarity with flavor is a great way for parents to incorporate healthier, nutritious foods into daily meals. If you find your child enjoys pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, you may be able to introduce them to mashed sweet potatoes!
Although the topic of food can often be tricky to discuss with your child, it’s important to ask questions about their likes and dislikes! Looking for a place to start? A few of our busy bee’s favorite snacks at the center include veggie straws and cheese and crackers, which are great segways to build off of!
Happy Thanksgiving! We’re especially thankful for you and your picky-eater!