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5 Easy Tips For Moms With Picky Eaters

When I look at my two kids, I am always amazed at how different they are. They are both kind-hearted, brave and headstrong – but when it comes to looks and habits, they could not be more different if they tried. This is even more evident when it comes to their eating habits, and I am convinced it all has to do with how I introduced them to solids as babies.

With Mikayla, my now 8-year old, I didn’t know better. Her introduction to solids was through the bland mass-produced food you find in glass jars on the supermarket shelves – filled with added salt, sugar and preservatives. I did not focus on giving her much of a variety – not that we had a big variety back then. For years we struggled with her picky eating, and she was always underweight. I was constantly worried that she would have some sort of deficiency as she refused to eat most foods. My 4-year old son, on the other hand, eats pretty much everything. His introduction to solids was a bit more educated. I made his baby food myself, made sure he was introduced to a wide variety of flavours and encouraged healthy snacks that still tasted delicious.

We finally broke through Mikayla’s picky eating habits after tons of research and re-weaning, but before we got there I heavily relied on “juicy bags” to see us through. Well, that is how my kids refer to them… You might know them as Rhodes Squish pouches. They gave me insight on how to get Mikayla to eat and try new foods by trying flavour combinations, and they gave me peace of mind that she was getting some fruit and veg in her system. Both my kids love their products and it is such a convenient way to offer them a healthy snack choice. They just launched some delicious new jellies and purees containing yogurt as well that we are loving.

5 Easy Tips For Moms With Picky Eaters

Before I share my tips of what personally worked, and still works for us – I just want to tell all other mammas who are struggling with a picky eater not to worry. They won’t starve… they will be okay. They do eventually grow out of it, and if they don’t – you learn to work your mamma magic around it.

Here are five ways that helped me guide my kids past the picky eating stage and got them the nutrients they need…

1. Limit their sugar intake & keep easy healthy snacks around the house.

I have such a sweet tooth myself, and I don’t believe in depriving kids of sugar completely – but no child needs added sugar in their diet. Naturally sweet fruit and veggies come paired with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them a better choice for toddlers than a sugary snack or drink that is just empty calories.Toddlers are active little creatures, and to get them to sit still long enough to eat something is a challenge on its own. I found having healthy snacks available with limited sugar and that are free of preservatives and artificial flavouring is a great way to keep them interested in more nutritional choices throughout the day. Great options are rice cakes with carob or yogurt coating, Rhodes Squish fruit and veg puree pouches, nuts, fruit jellies mixed with some fresh fruit slices and crackers.

5 Easy Tips For Moms With Picky Eaters

2. Incorporate Tasty Smoothies

Smoothies and smoothie bowls are probably the easiest way to sneak some goodness into those little bodies… but don’t try trick them. They should know what they are getting so that they can appreciate the taste of the ingredients, this will also open them up to exploring more varieties of food. A big problem for Mikayla is consistency – she cannot stomach anything with a funny texture so I always make sure the smoothies I make are smooth as can be. Paying attention to the texture of the foods your kids do not like can be very enlightening, and can help you on the road of finding more foods they will enjoy.

3. Make Food Fun!

I don’t know about you, but I am not a mom who has time to create an entire ocean scene on my kid’s plate or spend ages arranging their fruit and cheese sticks in shades of ombre. There are other ways if making food fun that involves much less time and Pinterest skills! One of our personal favorites is to make delicious ice lollies or popsicles – it is a win-win situation. My pregnancy cravings get sorted, it provides some relief from the hot summer days and there are no tears about not being allowed ice cream – because it is close enough! It is easy enough to make that the kids can mostly do it themselves, and it is fun to experiment with different flavors and colours. There are so many ways to make food fun, it can be as simple as poking your dry spaghetti through cut-up pieces of viennas before cooking or putting meat on a stick. Kids are amused by the darndest things.

4. Let Them Help In The Kitchen

This probably made the biggest difference. My kids are way more inclined to eat the food I put on their plate if they had a hand in preparing it. You would be surprised how much a toddler can do in the kitchen! It might be a little more time consuming and messy, but it is also a wonderful way to bond.

5. Stop Stressing & Don’t Force It

If you make a huge issue about your child’s picky food choices, it will just become more of an issue. You stressing out about food makes them stress out about food – no one wins in a situation like that. The more you try to force their meal on them or persuade them to eat something, the less inclined they will be to do so. So just relax, enjoy your meal and move on. Offer them choices instead of limiting and dictating them – they might surprise you.

As a former picky eater myself who now eats EVERYTHING, and the mom of a reformed picky eater, I know the struggle is real when it comes to picky eating, and that there is no “quick fix.” Just take it one day at a time, keep encouraging them, and avoid the power struggles!

Sponsored by Rhodes Squish
Rhodes Squish products are made from 100% fruit and vegetables, and are free from preservatives, colourants, flavouring and starch.

For more information visit: www.squish.co.za

5 Easy Tips For Moms With Picky Eaters

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7 thoughts on “5 Easy Tips For Moms With Picky Eaters

  1. Claire says:

    My son is incredibly picky and also small for his age so his eating is a huge stress for us.. but the one thing he will eat is squish! Thank goodness there’s no nasties in there. Hoping the picky phase passes sooner than later!

  2. Nadine Ellis says:

    Thank you for this post. My almost 5 year old daughter has also always been a picky eater. I love the idea of smoothies & popsicles … Can you perhaps share where I can find some fun/interesting recipes for these?

    • Maz says:

      Hi Nadine! Absolute pleasure – trust me – I know how tough it can be. I will compile some recipes that have worked for us over the years into one blog post and try have it live by the end of the week. Otherwise, Pinterest is always full of ideas. What I found worked the best is to take a fruit they really love and build something around that. For eg. – the one fruit Mikayla always ate was banana. I would blend one banana with a cup of almond milk, a teaspoon of peanut butter, hide a little bit of spinach in there (you cannot even taste it), and a date or two. You can freeze it in popsicle moulds or drink it as a smoothie. Eventually I started adding blueberries to the mix which made it purple – she loved that! Today we took the new squish jellies and chopped them up to add them to the popsicles to make them even more interesting!

  3. Dr. John Rich says:

    I can’t emphasize enough how effective it is to prepare healthy snacks BEFORE children ask for food. If they are playing, then realize they are hungry, and they go to the kitchen and see a plate of fruit sitting out, they can grab a few bites and go back to playing. Important stuff. The early years are when children’s brains and bodies are developing the capacities they will have later in life. Feeding them well from an early age will be a legacy you’ll leave them for years to come. Thanks, Maz!

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