Children’s diets can be a source of concern for parents. It has been estimated, as many as 3 out of 4 Australian parents are at least a little concerned their child isn’t getting all the nutrition they need[i], according to new research from YouGov Galaxy. This research also found three out of four parents say their kids would rather eat fast food or snack all day as opposed to eating main meals[ii].
Nutrients are important to support kid’s healthy growth and development, and fussy eaters often aren’t getting all of the nutrients they need to support healthy growth and development.
While stages of fussy eating can be normal for kids, Blackmores Superkids Cook, Bianca Slade shares some simple hacks to help ensure your kids are getting enough nutrients in their diet.
1. Suit them up
Make cooking fun by buying or making your child their very own chef outfit – just a tea towel tied with a string can double as an apron, and playdoh shape cutters can be used to create fun shapes for softer ingredients.
2. Expose them to as many foods as possible
As many as 85% of Australian children aged between two and 12 years are fussy about at least some foods[iii] (reference available upon request). This can be frustrating, and may lead to nutritional deficiencies.[iv] By getting them to prepare as many foods as possible, alongside your direction, whether it’s peeling, squeezing, or chopping, they’ll start enjoying that food in their diet. Children need to be exposed to a certain food between eight to 15 times before they’ll try it and accept it.[v]
3. Get in the garden
A child’s taste buds can be fired up if they see where their food comes from, and especially if they’ve had a hand in growing it themselves.[vi] Try planting lettuce, beans and strawberries in the backyard, and plant some herbs to add into your cooking for the kids to carefully pick or cut.
4. Let your child choose the recipe
Dust off those recipe books and ask your child to choose a dish that sparks their imagination (and appetite).
5. Taste test
As you cook, encourage your child to taste as they go along – whether it’s a sauce, batter, or mixture. Ask them for their opinion on how it tastes: does it need more salt, pepper or anything else added?
6. Name that broccoli
One study found that if children give certain foods silly names they’ll be more likely to try it.[vii] Another good tip is to attribute a superpower to a food, such as carrots can give x-ray vision and help you see in the dark, or broccoli can make your child as strong as Superman.
7. Supplement their nutrients
A healthy balanced diet is always the best source of nutrients, but to help ensure your child is getting enough nutrients, adding a daily multivitamin can help support kids healthy growth and development, so your kids have plenty of energy to help out in the kitchen.
Always remember to speak to your healthcare practitioner if symptoms persist. Always read the label. Use only as directed. Supplements may only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate.
[i] The study conducted by YouGov Galaxy Research, polled a representative sample of 1,000 Australians, with respondents with children aged between 2-12 years answering questions regarding children’s health, nutrition and wellbeing.