Okay. Raise your hand if you have a hard time getting your kids to enjoy eating healthy food. Most parents have a hard time with this one. I'm no exception.
My child is 8 and she is 'finally' eating soup and salad. These were the most difficult foods to get into her. At one time when she was 3 or 4 she would refuse to even take one spoonful of soup and would not eat any salad whatsoever. She has always enjoyed her vegetables though so I really never understood what her deal was, a salad is just veggies mixed together isn't it?
Well, you know what? That IS the issue. Like most other kids, she doesn't like foods to be mixed together. The solution? When I make salad I will sometimes put hers onto a plate with the ingredients apart. Tonight, for instance, our salad consisted of lettuce (green and red leaf), broccoli, cucumber, red onion and pecans. Ours was mixed in a bowl and hers was on a plate - green lettuce (because she doesn't like the purple leaves), the broccoli, the cucumber and the pecans. No red onion though. I don't think anybody wants to eat red onion on its own anyways.
Her preference for salad? No dressing. She hates dressing because it smells like vinegar. I would rather she have the dressing to get some healthy fats in her as well as some raw garlic and apple cider vinegar but I guess I can't win them all.
The result? The salad gets eaten. Well, except for the pecans. She's not a big fan of nuts generally.
We've come a long way. I don't always make her the 'special' salad as much now because she does tend to eat salad with everything mixed together, but a larger quantity does get eaten when it is separate and doesn't include the dressing.
The moral of the story is that getting kids to eat healthy foods takes persistance, and a lot of it! They say that you have to offer a new food to a child numerous times before they'll try it and then it needs to be eaten several more times before they actually enjoy it. A lot has to do with training their tastebuds I think. Like us, the more our diet contains real food the more we want it. Works the same with children too.
With yogurt for instance my child will actually eat it plain and even prefers it this way now. I made the mistake when she was little to buy the flavoured yogurts which are just full of sugar and nasty ingredients. To move her off of those I started with plain yogurt and sweetened it with homemade jam or apple butter and then moved on to honey or maple syrup and eventually moved onto the thicker plain Greek Yogurt. It took a while but she really enjoys it. Now, we'll typically flavour it with cinnamon and honey, some granola or frozen blueberries. The berries are usually thawed by the time she has her lunch at school and it doubles as a freezer pack to keep the yogurt cool. (my tip of the day!)
Have you had any successes when it comes to training your child's tastebuds? Or getting them to try new foods?