With this year being one fraught with anxiety, parents and caregivers don’t need another reason to stress. Dealing with picky eaters can be a major source of concern for caregivers who want to ensure that the kids in their care are getting enough healthy food and hydration to grow and thrive. This is why South African dietitian, Mbali Mapholi, has partnered with Laager Tea4Kidz, to share practical tips on getting picky eaters to start eating healthily at meal- and snack-times.
“One of our biggest drives at Laager Tea4Kidz is to empower South African parents and caregivers to promote healthy habits with their children,” explained Laager Rooibos Marketing Manager, Candice Sessions. “The link between a healthy diet and a healthy body and mind is widely known, and it is really important that this positive connection with food starts early. However, many parents and caregivers struggle to just get their kids to eat in the first place – and that’s where Mbali’s ‘health hacks’ are incredibly useful!”
Mbali Mapholi’s 8 Health Hacks for Picky Eaters
Well-known dietitian, Mbali Mapholi – who is a mother herself – explained there are many reasons for children becoming fussy eaters, but there are practical ways to address this: “It’s important to make the eating process one that is enjoyable, and communal, rather than a time of stress. Here are a few ways to avoid common mistakes that lead to anxiety at meal-times, and create a happy, healthy environment.”
1. Instead of having your child eat alone, make it a family mealtime where everyone is eating together.
2. Rather than eating and drinking during the meal, encourage your child to drink healthy beverages, such as Laager Tea4Kidz in between meals. That way, they’re not full when it comes to the meal.
3. Instead of introducing a completely new meal, bring in new food with familiar food types as a way to ease them in.
4. Don’t use methods of trickery to get children to eat, rather encourage them throughout the meal and celebrate the last bite.
5. Avoid mindless grazing or snacking throughout the day. Organise a routine for healthy snacks and mealtimes to get the mind and body ready for meals.
6. Never force a child to eat if they are full. Their bodies do require much smaller portions, often throughout the day, rather than one big meal.
7. Dish up smaller portions of food, especially when introducing new foods.
8. Encourage your child to assist you in the kitchen. The process of preparing the meal will make them feel involved, and more likely to eat the meal at the end.