Getting kids to have their veggies or try new foods or eat healthy for that matter, is a nightmare for many parents. Especially since all of us are at home, with the kids, with work, trying to strike a balance between the home and the world. It is quite a lot of stress, this work from home arrangement and when kids reject the food you make, it can understandably be very disheartening for you as a parent.
Luckily for you, we are here with a bunch of tricks up our sleeves to introduce new food to kids and some tricks to get them to eat all their veggies.
Kids are really smart. They know when you’re patronising them and they know when you’re forcing a new food that they are not ready to accept yet, on them.
#1 Introduce Only One Food At A Time
Limit new food introductions to one every week or 10 days. This week try and introduce and re-introduce the food to the child in different ways. This way you will understand which is the best way to get the child to consume the new item. You can also then monitor if the new food has caused an allergic reaction which can also be the reason why the child is rejecting the food.
#2 Mash and Purees FTW!
Our absolute favorite sneaky way to get kids to have veggies without them knowing it, is by mashing or pureeing the food and making it into a sauce or a layer for other foods that the child likes, to lay on. Kid doesnt like spinach? Puree it into a pizza sauce . Knead your aata with pureed spinach to make colourful rotis. Make carrot sauce and mix with daals. Get creative. Repurpose beetroots into some colourful dessert or even, an ice lolly!
# 3 Kids Eat In Color
Kids are very visual. So when you’re serving them new foods or are trying them to have all their veggies, plate the meal in such a fashion that the kid sees multiple colours on the plate and is excited by the vibrant hues. While you’re at it, assign grades to each colour and gamify the meal time. Let the kid try out the new veggie at their own pace , yet as part of a game. The chances of it being accepted are higher.
You definitely should check out the super kid friendly recipes we have in store on our recipe page.
#4 Mix and Match
Sometimes mixing the new food with old familiar accepted foods works. This is called the safe food technique where the parent rests assured that the child will get their nutrition from the other foods, even if they reject the new one. A colorful plate that has their favorite food item and then not so favorite items will be more welcome than a plate with only the new food. For example, you’re trying to get them to eat a new vegetable. Introduce it first within a dish they love. For example, noodles or spaghetti or burger patties , samosas, pakodas, parathas, fried rice and more such accepted dishes.
#5 Stock Right, Serve Right
Every grocery shopping list that you nowadays have is dominated by what your kids like. Weaning them off the favorite junk food or snack is difficult but with this smart hack, you can make the process easier for yourself and the kid.
For example, if your child loves malt based energy powders because their favorite idol endorses it, or their friends go gaga over it or maybe the child really likes the taste, what you can do is
- Start mixing less powder into the milk
- Start mixing the powder with your own homemade version of milk powder (recipie here )
If your child really likes pizzas and burgers, start making the dishes at home, puree the veggies you want your child to have and use them as the sauce, mash them into the burger patty and serve them to the child. If they’re really into processed cheese, start mixing the cheese with grated paneer, every time lessening the amount of processed cheese and increasing the amount of homemade paneer.
Try stocking less fizzy sugar laden drinks and try building a norm that if anyone in the house wants to drink something fun, they make the drink out of fruits, veggies or with homemade powders and homemade concentrates. Use sattu powders for summer cool drinks and shinkanji to battle the heat as opposed to serving packaged fruit juices, lemonades, waters and energy drinks.
In our decade long experience of working in pediatric nutrition we have observed that the kids learn by following their family members. If you’re eating and drinking right, maintain a good relationship with food yourself and have a more body positive tolerant outlook, your child will imbibe those qualities and grow up to have healthier relationships with their food and their bodies.
If you’d like us to plan your toddler or teenager’s nutrition and want them to understand why making healthy nutrition choices is necessary, head over to our Child and Teenage Nutrition Program and subscribe to start today.