Whether your child is a fussy eater or a culinary explorer, it’s never easy to get them to maintain a truly healthy, balanced diet. Kids reserve the right to change their minds at a moment’s notice about the tastiness of a cucumber stick or the appeal of that veggie casserole you spent hours perfecting. We can’t promise to transform your little darlings into connoisseurs of all things healthy and balanced overnight, but we do have a few quick tips to try to help (plus a great quiz to test your knowledge and the chance to win great prizes and discounts – read on!). Good luck out there.
1. Try to keep to a schedule
Planning meals and snacks at set times each day will help them understand there’s a time and place for eating – they’ll learn that if they don’t eat now while the food’s being offered, it’s going to be a while until the next tasty morsel shows up. Plus, if they’re hungry at the right time, they are more likely to try something new.
2. Get them burning energy
When you want your kids to try something new, it can help to make sure they’ve had a day of energetic activity and fresh air first. When dinnertime rolls around, they’ll be hungry little hippos.
3. Remember there’s more to food than taste
Make things more interesting by engaging their senses: show them the difference between crunchy and soft foods, make fun shapes out of cucumbers or apples using cookie cutters, and chat about the different colours on their plate. Sometimes it’s not the food itself that they don’t like, just the way it’s prepared – same as us, really!
4. Make them part of the process
We hear you, but it’s worth a try, because it can work! Talk about the meal plan and ask them to choose between two different ingredients (not “what would you like to have?” – you know how that’s going to end!) then go shopping together. Let them help prepare the meal (who wants to mix or mash?) and they’ll be more likely to eat the food they’ve ‘created’.
5. Top up with a supplement
If you’re really worried about whether your child is getting all the vitamins and minerals they need to grow and be healthy, consider giving them a nutritional supplement. The idea is not to replace food, but to make sure you’re getting important nutrients into those little bods! In fact, in a recent study*, kids who were at risk of under-nutrition added PediaSure to their dietary intake over an 11-month period. This did not interfere with their normal food intake; more children reported consuming foods from important food groups (such as fruits, vegetables, meat and fish) in their diet compared to baseline, and these results were seen as early as four weeks in.
6. Get help if you need to
If you continue to struggle with getting your child to eat a balanced diet, there’s no harm in talking to a professional, such as your GP, Paediatrician or a Dietician. They should help you find the cause, and work with you on ways to solve the problem.
Think you know what makes for a healthy, varied diet? Take this quick ‘diet diversity’ quiz to find out! You’ll also get the chance to win a $100 grocery voucher, and $200 worth of PediaSure products. There are PediaSure products suitable for kids aged between one and 10 years, and it’s the number one choice of Paediatricians in Singapore for picky eaters^. And, you can grab a PediaSure sample and a $10 discount voucher to see if it works for you and your challenging little foodies.
*Hunyh DTT et al. J Nutr Sci. 2016; 5:e20.
^Based on a survey conducted in April/May 2013 among GPs and Paediatricians in Singapore.
This post is sponsored by Pediasure.