Healthy Eating Habits for Preschoolers: Tips for Picky Eaters

by Jess Cooper Blogger

Healthy and varied nutrition is essential for toddler growth and development. However, the majority of parents around the world struggle with picky and fussy eating. This frustrates parents, as they are aware of the importance of nutritious food. If you are struggling with the same issue, keep reading to learn more about healthy eating habits for preschoolers as we share tips for picky eaters. 

The first and one of the most important things is to be a food role model. Children copy everything you do. The second thing that can help is eating together as a family as often as possible. Moreover, it helps when you are creative with food and its presentation. You should be mindful of portion sizes - starting small is always better.

Also, remember that sometimes kids don’t want to eat certain foods because they are intolerant or allergic to them. You could also involve your kids in meal planning and prepping. And the last crucial thing - be highly patient. 

  1. Be a food role model

Since they start being conscious about the world, babies and toddlers observe what their parents do. This is the only input they have. That means that your food choices affect your children. According to some studies, children are more likely to try new foods and even incorporate them into their everyday routine when they see others around them eating them. Also, it was found that parents eating vegetables and salads prompted children to meet the daily fruit and vegetable recommendations. So, to promote healthy eating habits, you should start consuming fruits and vegetables yourself. You should instil these habits before your child starts attending preschool. Preschool menus such as Insight Early Learning are highly diverse and nutritious, constituting varied fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, dairy, fish and meat. 

  1. Eat together as a family as often as you can

Another essential thing is to try and eat together as a family as often as possible. There should be no distractions in the form of TV or phones. This is the perfect time for modelling healthy eating habits. The whole family should eat the meal(s) you prepare, with no exceptions. If your child refuses to eat what you made and you make something else for them, you encourage picky eating in that way. When trying out new things and incorporating them into your meals, remember that you should always include food your child likes. It makes the process so much easier. All the meals should be balanced and nutritious. 

  1. Be creative with food and presentation

Kids simply don’t like the appearance of certain foods, which can create an aversion to this type of food. Creativity comes in handy in such cases. As children are highly visual, it matters how you present food. You should strive to make food look appealing, especially when you want your kids to try something new. For instance, kids are not usually fans of leafy greens, considered superfoods and rich in nutrients. So, you can put a few kale or spinach leaves into your kids’ favourite smoothie. When it comes to other vegetables, such as carrots, peppers and mushrooms, which you can chop, you can easily add them to sauces and soups. Moreover, you can cut fruits and vegetables into fun shapes with food cutters. 

  1. Be mindful of the portion sizes

This is especially true when introducing new foods. Even though every parent wants to feed their children a substantial portion, we should be mindful of new foods. Children might refuse to eat something only because the portion is too big. It’s always better to start with a small portion before something they like. When they finish eating the new food, you should praise them. If the small portion eating goes well, next time, increase the size every time until you reach an average size portion. 

  1. Pay attention to food intolerances and allergies

Sometimes, when children refuse to eat certain foods, it is not about the picky eating but potentially about food intolerances and allergies. Food allergies are easier to identify as symptoms such as rashes, swelling and itching manifest after digesting certain foods. Food intolerances are harder to identify. To identify these, you should pay close attention to what your children refuse to eat. It would be a good idea to note these things down. Food intolerances often happen with gluten, dairy products or cruciferous vegetables. You can check with your child’s paediatrician how to check these things. 

  1. Involve your kids in meal planning and cooking

Kids love being a part of the family, so including them in meal planning and cooking is an excellent way to go. If you let them participate in such things (to a certain extent), they will be more willing to try new things. This is one of the best ways to expand their interest in food. You can take your children grocery shopping and let them pick a few healthy items they’d like to try - this will boost their confidence. Also, you can let your children with meal prepping; they can wash the produce or arrange food on plates. This will make the process more exciting. 

  1. Be patient

A crucial thing for parents to remember is to be armed with patience. Sometimes, kids need to try a particular food even ten times before they start liking it. So, you mustn’t give up and constantly seek new and fun ways to incorporate new healthy foods into your children’s diets. You are in charge, so you must find ways to make your children eat healthily. Children usually outgrow the habit of being picky eaters - in a few years. You should also refrain from pressuring your child - it usually results in children being even pickier eaters. Instead, try more innovative strategies and give them time. Patience is the key in increasing your child’s food preferences. 

Parents have quite a challenging task when raising healthy and intelligent children. Overcoming picky eating is one of the most common challenges almost every parent faces. You shouldn’t take it personally, but as a phase, the kids will outgrow it with your help, perseverance and patience. 

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About Jess Cooper Junior   Blogger

3 connections, 0 recommendations, 15 honor points.
Joined APSense since, April 26th, 2023, From Sydney, Australia.

Created on Sep 22nd 2023 01:15. Viewed 95 times.


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