For anyone who loves food, nothing is worse than a picky eater. We know someone who turns their nose up at delicious, homemade dishes and eats nothing but junk food. And for a foodie parent, raising a child like this is your worst nightmare.
Nothing brings a food-lover more joy than consuming a delicious meal and sharing their culinary passions with others. Baking and preparing new dishes and seeing the delight on people’s faces as your creation hits their taste buds. And in an ideal world, your child will grow up to love food just as much as you do.
Few people are born fussy eaters. It is something acquired throughout one’s upbringing. Of course, everyone has some foods they can’t stomach but often a child’s food habits are learned from parents, siblings, and friends.
If you want your child to take pleasure in the joys of food, here are four tips to help you share your passion.
Provide a variety
As soon as your child can eat solid foods, let them try as many new things as possible. This will help them to experience the joys and discoveries of food from an early age. When you’re tired from work or looking after your child, you might be too tired to come up with new recipes every evening but try not to offer the same foods over and over again. Even when your child is an infant, rather than relying on the baby food industry, you could puree all kinds of interesting food for them to try instead. You’ll know right away if they don’t like it.
Set an example
A lot of children’s behavior is copied from their parents. If they see you constantly snacking on biscuits and ordering takeaways, they will grow to love these unhealthy foods. Show them how much you enjoy exciting, nutritious meals and they will begin to take pleasure in them too. Many parents prepare different meals for themselves and their children, but you should avoid this. Eat together and make mealtimes an experience for the whole family.
Don’t force it
If your child doesn’t like the food you’ve served up for them, don’t force them to eat it. If they feel pressured to consume something, they’ll form negative associations with it. Take the pressure off them and let them explore food at their own pace.
Make food fun
For many children, the only experience they have of food is when they are putting it into their mouths. But by involving them in the cooking process, you make it more fun for them, and they’ll be more excited to eat it. Baking cupcakes and making mini pizzas are both incredibly simple, and your child will love getting their hands dirty. Every now and then, add some excitement to dinnertime by making it an event. Get out the fancy tableware and cook up a buffet lunch or a mixed mezze for everyone to dig into. Your little one will soon learn to associate food with pleasure.