(Culinary.net) – Feeding an entire family can be difficult enough on its own with busy evenings full of hustle and bustle. One additional factor that can cause even more headaches is dealing with a picky eater, especially a child whose preferred menu ranges from hot dogs to candy.
If you’re looking to widen the palate of your picky eater (or eaters), consider these tips to start down a path toward a more expansive slate of family meals.
Loading up your little ones’ plates with steamed veggies and sauteed fish may be a surefire way to send them to the pantry for a less nutritious snack. Instead, try combining personal favorites with small portions of foods you’d like to introduce, such as chicken nuggets alongside green beans or topping pizza with black olives.
Don’t Force It
While it can be frustrating to constantly hear “no” to fruits and veggies, forcing them upon children may turn them away for good. In addition, a struggle over eating certain foods may create a constant sense of frustration around mealtime, which may only decrease a child’s desire to expand his or her horizons.
Create a Fun Experience
Remember not every meal has to include something new. On occasion, mix up mealtime by serving your children’s favorites, even if it’s as simple as a hamburger or as creative as breakfast for dinner.
Bring Your Sidekicks to the Store
Introducing your children to the place your family’s food comes from may help them feel more comfortable with new flavors. Plus, by letting them in on the shopping process, you can have some help choosing foods they’re more likely to be willing to try.
Let Children Help Cook
Much like choosing their own ingredients increases the likelihood they’ll try something new, perhaps becoming part of the cooking process can help children see how a meal comes together. It doesn’t have to be a gourmet experience – simply seasoning roasted asparagus with salt and olive oil, for example, can introduce your up-and-coming chefs to the kitchen while helping make the cooking (and eating) process a fun adventure.
For more food tips and kid-friendly recipes, visit Culinary.net.