Parents asking about how to help their “picky eaters” is a question that constantly floods my inbox. And trust me, I get it. Our daughter is 3 years old, she has been plant-based her entire life, and still has times where she is extremely picky! This is totally normal! So don’t beat yourself up! There are steps however, that can assist them through the process.
Kids are smart. They sense emotions extremely easy (even when you think you’re a professional at hiding them). If they sense that you’re stressing out as they eat, they will also become stressed. This is important to keep in mind, because this could be psychologically long-term creating negative emotions towards consuming meals. So try your best to stay calm and happy during meal times! They’ll definitely notice a difference!
Just like you, they genuinely may dislike certain foods! The good news is, as their taste-buds develop, their food preferences will change as well! Veggies that they may have rejected early on, may seem more appetizing a few months later. So never stop offering a variety of veggies! And more importantly, make sure they see YOU eating a variety of vegetables! Your children are going to emulate your choices! Living by example is the best form of education!
The more healthy options that you keep readily available for your family, the more they will consume! If the pantry is full of chips and processed foods, that’s what they’ll gravitate towards. As a family, we purposely don’t keep unhealthy foods around, because in moments of exhaustion or rush, it’s easy to grab the sugary pastry on the way out the door. So keeping pre-chopped fruits and veggies, dried fruits, or to-go packs of nut butters around so they can be accessed throughout the day is such a game-changer! Our daughter is constantly snacking on items like these, and it’s now what she prefers!
One of the best ways to get your kids to branch out with healthier food, is to involve them in the process! Let them help you cook, or make smoothies or juice! If I’m making juice, our daughter is the one throwing the veggies and fruit into the juicer (and she’s snacking on the apples typically the whole time)! This makes her more excited to drink it, while at the same time helping her understand where food and drinks come from. So involve them as much as possible, put on some music, and have fun!
Incorporating smoothies is a MUST for toddlers! Packing smoothies full of nutrients everyday gives me peace of mind that our daughter is getting enough nutrients in, even on days where she’s extra picky. Smoothies taste amazing, and easy to hide handfuls of greens. There are so many smoothie recipes available, so whatever their taste preferences are, you’ll be covered!
Parents, you’ve got this! Keep the healthy foods available and have fun with it! Healthy habits start young, so it’s crucial you take this time to lead by example!
Dr. Kasey Johnson is a family wellness chiropractor with a true passion for helping families reach their highest health potential. She is passionate about helping families, especially children, reach their highest health potential. Her main goal is to educate families on steps that they can take to remove the interference in their health to help break the cycle of the current "sick-care" system. She has given many lectures on wellness in the community, worked with local schools and businesses, and had a health and wellness radio show with a team of doctors in 2015. Dr. Kasey Johnson is the host of a weekly podcast called The Unlock Wellness Podcast, where she speaks to health experts, community leaders, and inspiring people who are dedicated to helping others reach their highest potential. Her podcast is available on iTunes, SoundCloud, YouTube, and GooglePlay. Dr. Kasey Johnson attended Palmer College of Chiropractic, Florida Campus, to obtain her Doctor of Chiropractic.