How to Change Habits WITHOUT Causing a Food Fight

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This message is for every parent who has felt frustrated trying to feed their picky eaters without losing their temper or giving in to unhealthy habits.

We all know that there isn’t much EXTRA TIME in the world today. There’s not enough time to prepare a special meal for the picky eater or engage in a power battle during family time.

Parents don’t need to struggle with their children’s taste preferences. There are many practical and fun ways to encourage picky eaters to try new foods without starting a food war.

1. Include them in the plan: Children who take part in the planning process are more excited and empowered about the result. Get your children’s input on everything from the menu for the week to the people who will be helping you prepare the food. This will make them feel included and special and encourage them to try out new foods.

2. Take them shopping: This may sound more intimidating than helpful, but if children know that they can choose the fruits and veggies for their meals and they learn about the different varieties, then they will be proud when ‘their’ selections appear on the table. Make it a field trip if you like – many produce managers will be happy to show their products to children. Bonus? Kids are often more accommodating when someone else (like an employee at a store) suggests a new thing to try.

3. Offer your child a “Bone “No, it’s not a real animal bone. But, offer them at least one healthy food item that they will enjoy at each meal.

4. You should not be responsible for your child’s eating behavior. Let them “Own it “: You can’t force your children to eat, no matter how much you might try. You are responsible for preparing a nutritious meal. It’s your child’s responsibility to decide whether they want to eat the meal or not. We create an environment that is ripe for power struggle if we continue to coax and prod them. Parents will never win this battle! You can let them skip dinner but do not offer them snacks before bedtime. Otherwise, you will undo their natural consequences!

5. Introduce new foods to your family in a familiar way. You can also try mashed cauliflower, zucchini sauteed in panko, or cauliflower pizza crust.

6. If you are a role model, it will encourage picky eaters to try new foods.

7. Finger Friendly: Kids LOVE finger foods. Fruit kabobs? It’s always a winner. What about a kabob of lightly steamed or uncooked veggies, whole-grain tortellini, and cherry tomatoes? A great alternative. What about homemade chicken tenders with dipping sauce (baked and not fried? The kids will be there! Brain food that’s worth a dunk any day!

Mealtime is YOUR time to be creative and connect with your children. In our modern world, it may seem ‘old-fashioned,’ but maximizing family time through REAL conversations and interaction AND healthy food options? We’ll take ‘old-school’ any day!

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