As summer sets in, it's a great time for us to explore more fruits and vegetables. If you have a garden, it's a greater opportunity for your picky eater to experience and explore new foods. When you engage your child in the steps of gardening, they can be an active participant, learn, and interact with food in a less stressful way.
Meal planning can be challenging for parents with a picky eater. Here are a few ideas to try with your child and have them be a participant in making these dishes:
1. Delicious Wraps:
One way to entice picky eaters is by making delicious and customizable wraps. Offer a selection of proteins, such as grilled chicken or tofu, and a range of colorful vegetables. Allow your child to choose their fillings, giving them a sense of control and involvement in the meal. If they don't want to add any vegetables, you can look at cheese, sauces, spices and have them choose what works for them.
2. Build-Your-Own Kabobs:
Kabobs are a fun and interactive way to introduce different flavors to picky eaters. Provide a variety of bite-sized ingredients, including grilled vegetables like zucchini and bell peppers, chunks of marinated chicken or shrimp, and even fruit like pineapple or melon. Let your child assemble their kabob, making it a personalized and exciting dining experience.
3. Fruity Smoothie Bowls:
When the temperature rises, nothing beats a refreshing smoothie bowl. Blend together frozen fruit, such as berries or tropical fruits, with a splash of your child's favorite milk or yogurt. Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top it with fresh fruit, granola, or a sprinkle of chia seeds. The vibrant colors and sweet flavors may entice even the pickiest eaters to give it a try.
4. Grilled Vegetable Pizza:
Pizza is a favorite for many, even for the fussiest eaters. Make it healthier by using whole-grain pizza dough and incorporating an array of grilled vegetables. Let your child join in the preparation process by allowing them to choose their favorite veggies and arrange them on the pizza.
5. Refreshing Fruit Popsicles:
Cool down during hot summer days with homemade fruit popsicles. Blend together ripe fruits like watermelon, strawberries, or mango with a splash of juice or coconut water. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze. These fruity treats are not only delicious but also a healthy alternative to store-bought options.
Summer is a great time to experiment with food and also explore the different colors of food.
You can also think about doing "picnics" with some of these meal ideas to make the experience just as fun as the food.
When you can, involve your child in the meal planning and preparation process, as this can increase their interest and motivation to try new foods.
Check out more blog posts here at www.newleafoccupationaltherapy.com to support families with children who get called "picky eaters".
There could be more factors involved when a child's diet is limited. For a more thorough understanding, you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for additional support around a child's diet and discovering strategies to support them.
Have a great day!
Jessica Earle, Occupational Therapist