Tricks For Picky Eaters

My lovely teenage daughter said she didn’t really appreciate the fresh parsley in the cous-cous I made.

While my daughter has come far in the picky eating category, I found myself resorting to an old parent tactic that worked when she was little.

I told her to give me four bites.  We both smirked and she quickly chowed down four little bites.

I must have forgotten how clever she is.

Tactical parents need to be very specific.

I could have said give me four gargantuan bites, and I also could have drawn a line down the middle and said eat half.

I haven’t been in creative parenting picky eater mode for awhile now

The above technique playfully encourages a picky child to eat.

When my son was in pre-school they often hosted parent education workshops.

One educator, who was a hoot of a lady, taught us all kinds of tricks.

Years later when educating parents about the alternative food market,  I incorporated her tips with my tried and true experiences to share with parents who were searching for ways to feed their families well

First of all, if you are parent who does not eat or incorporate whole fresh foods into your diet, then perhaps you might wonder where the example for your child might come from.

It really begins with you.

A carrot might be oooky rabbit food, and sure it might come out of the ground long, orange and perhaps even need to be peeled, but you can shift the image of a healthy food for a child’s eye by making it fun and offering them carrot peels, shreds, rounds, diagonals, sticks, juliennes, or even blocks of carrots.

carrot sunburst flickr image

Same thing with zucchini!

We got far with the fact that broccoli looked like trees and how fun it was to eat the tops of the trees off. When that stopped working we got savvy with yogurt based dips and trees turned into something to dip instead

Broccoli chopped makes great green sprinkles on just about anything. What other veggies make great sprinkles?

Calling them sprinkles changes the tone – would you agree??

broccoli heaven flickr image

It’s all the same food with just a bit of a creative twist

Celery smiles, celery sticks, celery shredds, grated celery…

See a pattern here??

A cracker, toast point or rice cake with cream cheese on it becomes a palette for faces made up of just about any veggie or fruit you have, carrot shreddies for hair, half zucchini moons for eyelids,  sunflower seeds or raisins for eyes – better yet – spread out the goodies and let them make their own faces

During a particular we don’t do veggies phase I went as far as taking a bunch of  steamed veggies pureeing them in the blender with cottage cheese and parmesan cheese.

Kids adore this on crackers, it was loaded with veggies and yet what they knew is mom let them play with it and spread it on things on their own

Want to make peanut butter crunchy ? Add shredded carrots.  Carrots are sweet.

My kids went through a “we don’t do green” phase.  Have you ever had that experience?

Instead of taking on the please eat something green game … I asked OK what colors do we eat this week? I let them pick three colors and if they skipped green that week, fine by me.

At lunch time we would decide which three vegetables we’d eat that day. I’d ask my kids, should that yellow pepper be in circles, smiles or lines… they got to choose.

Each layer of participating had them own their part of the meal and enjoyment

I’d make extra for snacks and keep them on the fridge for grazing

Before dinner I would say nothing and put out a bunch of raw veggies while cooking, my kids would sneak in and eat them, come back and sneak some more.  Did I care if they ate their veggies at dinner if they grazed before?

sassy yellow pepper filckr image

I was lucky that my kids adored soups and spaghetti sauce – I could blend any sauce with all kinds of steamed veggies and they never knew

Kids make funny decisions.  One vegetable made my son burpy, later he’d tell me — that taste comes back in my mouth – I didn’t like that, mommy

Good to know !

When they tell you it’s even better, but when they can’t tell you ? Is that their fault?

During these particular green is ooky times or other phases my child would go in and out of times, I was exceedingly grateful for a good chewable vitamin. I knew that if I didn’t strategically win that food battle that day, I at least had nutritional insurance.

Today BOTH of my kids really enjoy their vegetables. I believe it’s because of a life long habit we created together as a family.

veggie bouquet flickr image
The above photo is by Timothy K Hamilton

K a r e n     H a n r a h a n
Wellness Educator/Nutritional Consultant
Mentoring YOU to Health Success

Weight Loss

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3 Responses to Tricks For Picky Eaters

  1. Janelle Sorensen says:

    Wonderful tips, Karen!! I thought I had some pretty good ones, but you’ve sparked a whole new level of creativity!

  2. Sergei says:

    The post is really well put up and i really liked it very much indeed. There are a lot of vegetables that contain many vitamins and it is needed to appreciate.

  3. Karen Hanrahan says:

    thank you janelle – please share yours — I’d love to hear

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