Offering your little one a smorgasbord of healthy foods is a vital way to ensure that he’ll get vital nutrients his body needs to continue growing. So as to groom a gung-ho eater, you first have to pique your peewee’s interest in what he’s eating. Go on, be bold and change up your routine by trying these strategies:
1) Make your dining table a tech-free zone
Parking your tot in front of a tablet to keep them occupied while you feed them might seem like a convenient way to keep junior from fidgeting. But you are only going to be nursing their reliance on tech toys. Ideally, he should focus his attention on the food. Why not supply paper and crayons and let him doodle. By the way, this rule should apply to EVERYONE at the dining table.
2) Invite a friend
A good way to boost your kewpie’s social skills is to invite a pal over, so that he’ll be exposed to concepts like sharing and turn-taking. Dining with others is way more fun than eating alone. However, do make sure to sit with them and encourage them to talk to each other.
A palate that has been exposed to fare from far-flung places would serve junior well in the future as he’ll be more game to give new foods a try.
3) Let him assemble his food
Tempting as it is to present a meal to your child that’s already put together, allowing them to put their own meal together can boost both their motor skills and food smarts. They’ll learn how foods — like tomatoes or broccoli — have distinctly different textures in the mouth and in their hands.
4) Offer anything with dips
Offering your munchkin a variety of finger foods to sample can fine-tune his pincer grasp. Serve various sauces or spreads in a shallow dish. Then let them dip carrot, celery and cucumber sticks in a ranch dressing, cream cheese or hummus. Or give some apple slices with a smear of peanut butter for dessert or a snack.
5) Plan a themed meal
Expose your mini-me’s palate to a variety of cuisines or plan a meal that combines different dishes under one theme. A palate that has been exposed to fare from far-flung places would serve junior well in the future as he’ll be more game to give new foods a try. Try this: Switch up the menu and eat in a different spot in your home or use different decorative items and cutlery. Be bold ― experiment with these themes:
*Colour Add zing to the meal by presenting a range of rainbow colours or focus on one colour per meal. Take red, for instance ― cube a handful of strawberries and add it to your kewpie’s strawberry yoghurt together with some watermelon juice, or serve him steamed pumpkin cake with a slice of rock melon.
*Countries Go Italian with pizza! In place of the pizza crust, use bread. After removing the crust, use a cookie cutter or a knife to cut the slice of bread into a circle. Slather on some tomato sauce, then top off with ham and cheese. Get creative by cutting the ham and cheese into a variety of bite-sized shapes!
*Animal If your little one is still caught up in Paw Patrol fever, serve his food in mini-dog bowls or plate his chow, so that it resembles a paw print. Try this dish if bubba’s new to weaning: De-seed and remove the skin from a slice of papaya, then steam for about 10 minutes before puréeing it. Mix some cereal with warm water, then place in a cute little dog bowl. Last, use a plastic squeeze bottle filled with the papaya purée to pipe the shape of a paw on top of the cereal.
Main photo: iStock
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