Creative tricks for picky eaters

My older daughter is a picky eater. Actually, lots of children are: they like certain types of food due to texture, some due to color, some due to taste. I am not quite sure why my daughter eats food the way I cook it (mostly in pressure cooker), but I am glad she does. I am proud to say she eats her vegetables but whenever I come up with something new or we go out, it is always a challenge to make her eat!

So what are the tricks to have your little ones to eat?

1. If your little one likes rice, make him rice balls – mash the veges and meat and after mixing with rice (more rice than the rest and gradually increase) suggest him eat the balls with their hands.

2. Just boil the veges or steam them and with a cookie cutters cut out shapes. Don’t have cookie cutters? Use a knife!

3. Give the vegetables alternative names. E.g. broccoli and cauliflower can be trees or flowers.

4. Offer a treat after a meal: a cookie, a small piece of chocolate. It doesn’t have to be anything big but something you agree on – a meal and a small “dessert”. Children usually look forward to these and the chances of finishing the meal are higher!

5. Engage the child into meal preparations: mix the salad, help sorting vegetables, set the table etc. Helping me with the salad is how my daughter started eating it!

6. Important: whatever you do, set clear rules and work on table manners from early on. I am not a fan of messing eating and letting the child play with food. However my daughter grabbed her first spoon and started self-feeding more or less properly when she was slightly over 2.

7. Keep it simple – children are too young to appreciate sophisticated meals and decorations. Some actually get put off by too many colors and unknown  decorations.

8. Experiment and don’t feel too disappointed if you fail – children tend to grow out of habits, taste preferences and more. Keep offering the foods!

What are your tricks for making your children interested in food?