If parents could make a wish in relation to our children's eating habits, it is possible that we would all agree on the same thing: that they are healthy and that children eat everything. Is achieving these purposes mission impossible? Of course not! With a bit of desire and working on it from the earliest childhood, we will achieve it.
But to help us in our 'dream' we have spoken with María Marín, creator of the successful social network 'Dinners for little ones' in which she gives us thousands of ideas to prepare healthy menus for our children. Has confessed to us her mother tricks to get your children to try everything.
We start by looking at the simplest and most basic tricks! And if we start laying the foundations from the beginning, it will be easier to establish good habits that children will maintain during their adult lives.
1. Keep common sense
It is often said that common sense is the least common of the senses ... And what a reason! Driven by worries or rush, sometimes we look for results NOW. And, in matters of health, food, education and parenting, immediacy cannot always be achieved. When proposing healthy habits for our children, we must maintain common sense.
2. Lead by example
The example is one of the most powerful tools to educate our children. If we want them to eat well and eat everything, they have to see us that we have a varied and healthy diet. And sometimes, it is as simple, as having a full fruit bowl always in the kitchen. In this way, children will always have fruit at their disposal, at their fingertips.
3. Eat all together
When we all eat together we are transmitting good eating habits to children. It's a great way for the little ones to see how we, their parents, relate to food, and take an example of it. Also, the time of lunch or dinner can be a nice way to build a stronger bond with the children, since we will be creating beautiful memories that they will remember (and repeat with their own families) when they are older.
4. Have a lot of patience
This is the advice, a bit hackneyed, that everyone gives in everything related to parenting. However, patience and calm are the best allies for any father or mother. The first time you give your baby broccoli, he may not like it. And maybe the second either. However, if you have a little more patience and keep insisting (without forcing him), it is possible that the tenth time he will be encouraged to eat it. And little by little, you will get a taste for it. It takes time to get used to the new textures and flavors.
5. Don't force your child to eat
When we force children to eat or when we force them to try new foods, we are damaging their relationship with food. In addition, it is possible that we are forcing them to eat more than they need, since the reason they do not want to eat is that they are already satiated.
6. Establish good habits from a very young age
When children are born, they have a virgin palate, that is, they are open to any flavor. That is why this is the right time to start establishing certain eating habits, before the little ones try some foods or get used to the sweeter flavors.
For example, if since he starts with solids you get your baby used to taking natural yogurts (unsweetened), he will love its taste, and he will not have the need to add sugar. However, if you have been used to adding a few tablespoons of sweetener since childhood, you will no longer want to remove them, as the sweet taste is very attractive.
That is why it is never too early to start passing on healthy habits to our children.
7. Offer a variety of foods to children
It is possible that your child, no matter how much you insist and try different recipes, does not like broccoli, or spinach, or onion ... Nothing happens, surely there is also some food that you do not like, and nothing happens. Therefore, offering a wide variety of vegetables and fruits to children will give them the opportunity to know which ones they like and which they don't.
8. Ripe fruits the better
If your children resist eating fruit, you can try giving them somewhat more ripe fruit. These tend to be sweeter and softer, which is usually more attractive to them.
9. Organize meals
In the rush of everyday life, we sometimes throw away unhealthy food (pre-cooked, ultra-processed, etc.) to prepare quick breakfasts and dinners. So to make sure we always have healthy food in the fridge to offer our children, we need a little organization. That is precisely what batch cooking proposes: dedicating a day to organizing and starting to prepare meals for the whole week.
It's not about making happy faces out of ketchup or building fun characters out of food (although this method does work for some parents). María is more committed to proposing the different foods that children need in their diet with different recipes: baked, fried, along with other ingredients ... And in this way, we may find a more creative and delicious way for our children, that now they will want to try those foods to which they previously refused.
Here are some ideas for proposing food to children in a different way to make it even more attractive.
- Swiss chard croquettes
Swiss chard can be a bit boring if we just boil it in water and serve it on the plate. To make them a little tastier and more suggestive, we can mix them with breadcrumbs and egg, mold them into small balls and put them in the oven. In a short time we will have delicious chard croquettes that are much more fun to eat.
- Macedonia for kids who don't like fruit
If your children are a bit reluctant to try the fruit, you can give them a rich fruit salad in which you combine various flavors: orange, strawberries, a touch of olive oil and a little date paste for sweetness.
- Banana Oatmeal Cookies
Industrial cookies, and even many of the recipes that we prepare ourselves at home, have too much sugar. However, if we put oat flakes, with a little mashed banana (if it is ripe they will be sweeter) and an egg ... we will have healthy and delicious cookies that will delight the whole family!
- Broccoli pancakes
With some cooked potatoes and broccoli (better if it is soft), we add beaten egg and 3 or 4 small cheeses, we make a dough by mashing all the ingredients well. We add a little grated cheese, we make it circular and flat ... and in the oven! Lists the richest broccoli pancakes.
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