A balanced diet is essential for children to grow and develop properly. Protein helps build muscle, repair tissue, and provide energy. As a parent, I know the struggle of getting picky eaters to eat a balanced diet with enough protein. Even the most nutritious meals are often met with an eye roll and an “eww.” It can be discouraging to put so much effort into creating healthy meals for your family, only for them to get rejected.
Kids love snacks and sugary treats, but getting them to embrace a healthy diet filled with nutrient-rich foods can be difficult. Luckily, I’ve found some great strategies for getting picky eaters to eat a balanced diet with enough protein. With the right approach and a little creativity, you can ensure your kids are getting the fuel they need while still enjoying their meals. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned to get my children embrace a balanced diet with plenty of protein.
Tips and Tricks for Getting Picky Eaters to Eat a Balanced Diet
One great way to incorporate protein into a meal for picky eaters is by making “protein pancakes”! All you need to make them is a blender, some protein powder, eggs and milk. Simply combine all the ingredients in your blender and then pour the batter onto a hot griddle. Top with some fresh fruits or sprinkle with cinnamon and you have an easy and delicious meal that will provide your picky eater with the protein they need to stay healthy.
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Understand the why
Understanding why your picky eater won’t eat certain foods can help you come up with creative solutions to get them to eat a balanced diet. If they don’t like the texture of certain foods, you can try making them into smoothies or purées. If they are just not interested in a particular food, you can try adding different spices and herbs to switch up the flavor.
Offer small amounts
Start with small amounts at first. This way they won’t be overwhelmed by the unfamiliar taste and texture of a new food. Over time, you can gradually increase the portion size as your picky eater becomes more comfortable with the food. Be patient, as it may take some time for them to grow accustomed to new flavors and textures.
Offer favorite foods
It can be helpful to offer favorite foods and use them as a vehicle for introducing new, healthy foods. For example, if your picky eater loves mac and cheese, you can add some cooked veggies such as peas or carrots to the mix! This way they can still enjoy their favorite food while also getting the nutrients that come from eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and proteins. It’s a win-win!
It can take time to transition picky eaters to a balanced diet, so it’s important to be patient and not force the issue. Offer new and healthy foods alongside their favorite meals but don’t pressure them to try something they aren’t interested in. Over time, they may surprise you and start enjoying those healthy foods without any prompting! Just remember to be patient and keep trying.
Have a conversation
Explaining the benefits of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables in an age-appropriate way can help them understand why it’s important to eat a balanced diet. When they understand why eating healthy is beneficial, it can be a great motivator for trying new foods!
Get them involved
Getting them involved in the meal prep process can be a great way to get them interested in trying new foods. Let them pick the ingredients at the grocery store, help you measure out spices, or even let them stir up the meal if they’re old enough. This can make the whole experience more fun and engaging for them, which may encourage them to try something new!
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