From the Mean Mom: Here’s How to Get Your Picky Eaters to Eat Healthier
As parents, it’s hard to incorporate healthy eating habits for our kids when we don’t eat healthy ourselves. Sure, we want to make sure our children eat plenty of fruits and vegetables but if they see that we rarely eat them, they’re certainly not going to want to eat them either.
You, of course, aren’t going to allow them to eat ice cream for dinner but maybe you stop for fast-food more often than you should… so, what do you do when you’ve finally made the decision to cut out junk food and fast-food but your kids are still perfectly content with eating junk? You have to pull out the “mean mom” hat.
Being the “mean mom” doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re actually being mean to your kids… it just means that you’re not having any problems telling them no and saying it more often.
For younger children, the word “no” can symbolize being mean to them; you know you’re not being mean but they don’t… they’ll figure it out as they get older and love you more for telling them no.
But until that happens, you’re probably going to be the mean mom… if you allow it. When it comes to picky eaters, there are ways to get them to eat healthier, you just have to mix a little creativity and persuasiveness with a little firmness in your approach.
If you need your kids to jump on the healthy eating bandwagon with you, consider these tips and tricks to get them to eat healthy.
Make Veggies That are Dip-able For young children, vegetables are gross, of course, but if you make vegetables fun, they’ll more likely be willing to eat them.
Vegetables like zucchini, squash, carrots, and cucumbers are all vegetables that can be cut into spears and dipped into various condiments.
Ranch, honey mustard, ketchup, and even barbecue sauce are all sauces that might make their vegetables taste better to them.
Experiment with it at the table and ask them which one they like the best. As gross as that might sound to you, you just might have to try it with them just for the simple fact that kids tend to imitate everything their parents do, so if they see you dipping your veggies, they more than likely will too.
The important thing is that they eat their veggies, no matter how you have to get them to do it.
Have Your Kids Help You Prepare a Meal
You may not realize it but kids need to feel a sense of purpose, even at very small ages. Kids feeling a sense of purpose is essential to a child’s development as well, according to Mind Shift.
What you’ll notice, by having your kids help you prepare a meal, is that they’re going to eat everything that was prepared. Why? Because they prepared it.
This will be probably one of their many lessons in accomplishments and purpose. By having them help you prepare meals, they’ll see how their contributions to the meal helped feed their loved ones.
There are easy chicken recipes you can follow and have your little one add their finishing touches to. Just make sure you have them really get hands-on with the vegetables and tell them how delicious they are.
Ask them if they’d make it again for everyone… they’ll more than likely say yes and they might actually end up liking the vegetables simply because they made them! Just like everyone else, your kids are going to be thinking “I helped prepare this meal, so I’m going to eat every bit of it!”
Let Your Kids Know That the Kitchen Isn’t Burger King
Okay, so this particular tip is when you might have to put on your “mean mom” hat and enforce that firmness we talked about earlier. As parents, you sometimes have to just let your kids know that the kitchen isn’t Burger King and that they can’t always have it their way! It’s just that plain and simple.
You might decide to make spaghetti and meatballs for dinner one night and the kids want to order pizza… well, this would be a “no” moment, especially if you’ve already cooked the meal.
Part of letting them know your kitchen isn’t Burger King is also letting them know that you’re not a short-order cook either. Whatever is cooked for dinner or whatever meal you prepare, that’s just what it is.
Not saying that your kids can’t put in meal requests but they just need to understand that meals are for everyone and they can’t get what they want all the time… they just need to understand the dynamics of family meals.
It’s Not Easy Being Mean…
You hate telling your child no or being the reason they’re upset but that comes with being a parent.
You brought them into the world to be their parent first and foremost and sometimes that means that in order to do what’s best for them, you sometimes have to get creative and persuasive… and even firm from time to time.
But if being those things is what’s going to keep your kids safe and healthy, then so be it. Yours truly, The Mean Mom and Her “Mean Hat”