Among all the motherhood challenges I’ve experienced while raising my son, the toughest one has to be dealing with his fussy eating behaviour. Obviously, it takes a lot of patience but unfortunately, it’s also something that I’m seriously lack of.
As a matter of fact, introducing and re-introducing fruits has become an interesting game in my household. Like it or not, I’ve to keep trying because our boy is very prone to constipation. A lot of times, he’ll just take a quick glance at the fruits and goes “I don’t like to eat that!” without even trying.
So, I set the “You have to try it” rule. He must at least take a bite and try it before saying NO. It helps to a certain extent – at least he knows the taste of it, and not rejecting it purely based on its appearance. Most importantly, he gives it a try.
Two years ago when Edison was three, he ate only three types of fruits – oranges, strawberries and grapes. Now that he is five, he eats almost all types of fruits, except certain exotic fruits like mangosteens and durians.
Two years of hard works and experiments have finally paid-off! Today, I’ve narrowed down five useful tips that I’ve learnt to encourage our children to eat fruits:
1. Bring them along for supermarket shopping
When you bring your kids to the supermarket, show them the various types of fruits and how to select the ripe and fresh ones. Usually, I’ll also ask him what he wants to eat before buying them. It gives him some ‘ownership’ and he’ll likely to eat them.
2. Be a role model
If you’re eating a wide range of fruits — and enjoying them — your child may want to taste them as well. With the same logic, if you aren’t eating junk food or keeping them at home, your kids won’t be eating junk food at home either. So, it’s important to be a role model for our children.
3. Present the fruits nicely
Cut the fruits into small bite-size and arrange it nicely on an attractive plate. A beautiful fruits presentation is important to attract the fussy eaters. Nonetheless, never force your child to eat or use food as a form of punishment or reward.
4. Offer them choices but within limits
Too many choices can overwhelm a small child. It’s too open ended to ask, “What would you like for eat?” It may also trigger a mealtime meltdown. Instead, offer them a few choices, such as choosing between an apple, orange or strawberries after their meal.
5. Eat together as a family
Family dining is the perfect time to help our kids develop healthy attitudes towards food and the social aspects of eating with others.
Does your child dislike fruits? If so, how do you encourage him/her to eat more fruits? I love to hear your tips too; do share if you have any.