Children’s eating habits can be a mystery at times, writes Officréche early years manager Lisa Taylor.
We try every trick in the book, serve them hand prepared, healthy, nutritious food from the moment they cut their first teeth and still, all of a sudden, they don’t like something they have gobbled up every week before!
Usually after you have spent an hour lovingly preparing it ̶ oh it’s frustrating to say the very least!
Last week my daughter hated carrots, this week she does ̶ meanwhile my son loves to eat meat and doesn’t really like pudding! We’re all different.
So, just think for a minute, do you always fancy eating broccoli or steak or a jacket potato?
I bet the answer is no – and that what you would like to eat changes on a daily basis.
Children find that they can finally exert some control and decision making in their life and they seize the opportunity!
OK, we are responsible for our children’s bodies and ensuring they are healthy, however, forcing our out children to eat can have implications later on in life.
Do you ever keep eating even when you are full to breaking point?
Were you told as a child to clear your plate?
Shouldn’t we all stop eating when we are full? (Just don’t follow it up with snacks later on.)
Tension at mealtimes can become a vicious circle.
Growing your own or going to pick your own and getting your child involved in the growing, preparing and cooking process is a great way to encourage your child to eat.
A particular issue is trying new tastes and flavours; children, just like adults, make decisions based on what food looks like, so try this fun activity to encourage your children to try new tastes.
Use a scarf or blindfold. Then feed your child small portions of various different flavours:
Some examples could be: lemon, jam, mustard mayo (not too strong), kiwi, pickled onions, dragon fruit, star fruit, passion fruit, real coconut, fish, cous cous, peppers or pastries.
Include items you know they will like, discuss how they taste: sweet, sour, spicy, cold etc and if they enjoy the sensations or not.
Let them feed you too! They will absolutely love this part ̶̶ you can prepare small portions on spoons and they can feed you once you are blindfolded…..It will encourage them to try if you let them feed you first.
Remember to try everything and then express your thoughts.
This is a lovely game and activity away from the pressure of meal times.
You can build self-esteem, vocabulary, trust, confidence and try some new foods.
Go on give it a go.