Getting Your Child to Eat Fresh Foods

At Pediatrics in Brevard, we are a team of parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents ourselves – meaning we know the difficulties that can come with trying to get your little ones to eat, even more so to eat a balanced diet. We want to help you gradually move away from grabbing the bag of frozen chicken nuggets from your freezer or running to the drive-thru in desperation. Read our tips below on ways to get your child to eat more fresh food to help their growing minds and bodies get the nutrients they need!

Establish Nicknames

No, we’re not talking about how you call your little one “pumpkin” or “muffin” as cute monikers. But adding a fun nickname for healthy treats can make it seem like less of a task and make it more fun! Here are some fun ones we came up with:

  • Broccoli – “dinosaur food” or “little trees”
  • “Cucumber coins”
  • “Cauli-flowers”
  • “Superhero juice/smoothie”
Get Crafty

Presentation can mean everything to your child! If fruits and veggies don’t look the most appetizing to your child, despite their bright colors, try making them into their favorite shapes, animals, or toys. While it may seem like a lot of effort or too time-consuming to cut these snacks into these shapes, there are endless cookie cutter shapes that make the job that much faster and easier! Plus, you can create a learning opportunity where you try to point out all of the shapes and colors used in your new edible artwork. Some ideas include:
  • “Ants on a log”
  • “Banana Boat/Butterfly” – with a banana as the base of the boat, or as the body of a butterfly
  • “Crunchy caterpillar”
Make it Interactive

Instead of chasing after your child to stop touching things, usually fragile things that can break or may be expensive, try giving them things they can and should put their hands on – problem solved. Hands-on activities help develop thinking skills while stimulating all of the senses and also encourage exploring new things and participation habits. Let them get messy for once! They may be more likely to not mind munching on veggies if they get to dip them in sauces like ranch or getting to pull pieces of fruit off of homemade kabobs. If that doesn’t work, children love to be involved, especially when they know they get to be mommy, daddy, or guardian’s little helper. Build excitement for meals and new foods by having them help out with the process, be it DIY-ing the toppings on their homemade pizzas, or helping you lay out and measure the ingredients for recipes.
 
Role Model

It’s not going to go over well if you try to tell your child to eat these types of food items if they don’t see you eating them or pretending to eat them. Like they say, “monkey see, monkey do.” Not only are some children better at visual learning, but children are known to imitate behaviors that they see as they grow up. It’ll put you both on a more nutritious path by eating your fresh foods together.

Most importantly in this mission: don’t give up. It can take 7 to 12 exposures for children to become comfortable with new food items. The health benefits of eating more nutritious, whole foods are vital to helping your child reach their full potential, plus improving their immune system and brain function. Plus, this might prevent a few visits to your pediatrician office at Pediatrics in Brevard! In case your child does come down with a cold or flu, needs vaccines for school, or if you have any other concerns, we are pediatric specialists with four locations to serve Brevard County families. Contact us today to make an appointment.