As a mom, the most frustrating moment can be when you've spent the time to make a nutritious meal and then your child pushes it away or says "I don’t like it," even before trying it. Even when Mom and Dad try to be good examples by eating the same foods, it sometimes isn’t enough to convince a child to do the same.
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Kids can be pretty picky and meal time can definitely be stressful on parents, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is to get creative and to get your kids involved in the process. One of my coworkers suggests picking a weekend day and letting your child pick out any fruit or vegetable they want at the grocery store or farm stand and then going home to cook with it. (Hey, you might learn something, too!)
If your kids are young, use it as an educational moment to describe the color, shape, and texture of the food, or find out where it's grown. For older kids, turn it into an opportunity for them to search online for a new recipe and you can work together on preparing it in the kitchen. Make sure to praise their efforts at meal time, too.
By getting kids involved in the process, the likelihood of them trying new foods greatly increases. You’ll definitely still have those moments where you just can't make them happy, but hopefully they will be fewer and farther between. Try not to get frustrated.
Creativity doesn't have to mean extra meal prep for you or time in the kitchen, either. It just requires you to view things a bit differently and to bring some imagination into how you use your ingredients. Check out the slideshow above for some of the top groan-producing foods for kids, which also happen to be highly nutritious, and some simple ways to make them more appealing.
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