Some parents go to great lengths to raise little foodies who will eat everything from chicken nuggets to goat cheese. However, it’s not uncommon to be faced with a not-so-adventurous picky eater.
As most parents know, the challenge isn’t usually getting your little one to like new foods—it’s usually getting them to actually try the unfamiliar flavors. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers kid-friendly recipes to help parents introduce nutritious meals that will excite children and encourage healthy eating. Use these recipes to include your little one in the kitchen more often and turn dinner-prep time into family time.
According to the USDA, a child that helps in the kitchen:
- Tries and likes more foods
- Gains confidence, feels important and proud
- Learns early math and science concepts
- Learns new vocabulary
- Develops small muscle skills
- Learns responsibility with cleanup
Involve your toddler or preschooler by naming him or her Official Sous Chef of the Family Kitchen—you’re sure to raise excitement with a title like that! Designate a single cabinet in your kitchen that can be the home for measuring cups, storage containers and other child-friendly durable items. Your sous chef can be responsible for gathering these items and lining them up on a kiddie table.
It’s important to keep things down at toddler-level and avoid letting your little helper stand on chairs. A kid-sized table is just the right height and can be used for lining up measuring cups, vegetables and stirring ingredients.
Of course, there will still be occasions when having even two cooks in the kitchen is just too many. Luckily, there are JPMA Certified products available that can keep curious kids occupied and allow parents to feel productive. Infant bouncers and swings are the perfect solution for times like these.
While planning your next meal, consider the following tips:
- Create fun menus that will spark interest in your picky eater. Fun shapes and colors can make a big difference!
- Introduce a new food alongside foods your child already likes. The new food won’t seem so foreign next to familiar favorites.
- Set a positive example to help develop good eating habits for your entire family.
Raising an adventurous eater can be a slow and frustrating process, but remember that it’s normal for children to go through stages of eating selective foods as their taste buds still develop. Chances are, you aren’t the first parent (and you certainly aren’t the last), who is dealing with a toddler who will only eat cheese.