Adding diversity, or variety in the diet of your children is one of the hardest things for parents. But, only because the majority of parents think of variety as something “new”, rather than thinking of variety as different. In the first place, why would you take effort in preparing different foods for your child, when they can eat the same thing over and over again? It’s about the nutrition that they’re getting, right?
Unfortunately, this is one of the common misconceptions that many parents believe in. Yes, nutrition plays a crucial role, but it doesn’t mean that because they’re getting the nutrition that their bodies need, you shouldn’t exert extra effort towards preparing varying meals.
This is significant because variety is one of the secrets towards keeping your child interested in food, and another step towards food acceptance.
Just consider this and think of it this way: If you’re feeding your child the same meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks, eventually, they’ll get fed up and won’t become interested or excited about what you’re about to serve. It takes away the excitement. Meal times should be something that they have to look forward to. It is never intended to be a chore or something that they’re forced to do.
To sustain the excitement during mealtimes, adding variety to your child’s diet is a must. Parents should understand that it is not about thinking of new foods to prepare, but instead, thinking of new ways on how you can add variety to these foods that your children love to eat. Here are 7 ways you can try to make your child’s diet diverse.
Add Variety to Your Toddler’s Diet
- Mix It Up
List down all the foods that your child eats – literally, everything. What do they eat for breakfast, or what are their favorite snacks? Even the smallest details make a huge difference. From that list, why not try something different, for instance serving their favorite dinner for breakfast, or the other way around.
This way, your children won’t have to expect that it’s going to be pancakes every morning.
- Use Different Shapes
Cut your toddler’s food into various shapes. You can use cookie cutters, or if you’re a bit creative, why not carve your child’s favorite character on a fruit? Bake a cookie and use various shapes to spice up their meal times.
Add Variety to Your Toddler’s Diet
- Try Other Brands
Another way of adding variety to your child’s diet is trying out different brands. List down all their favorite products, and when you hit the grocery, try buying a different brand rather than the typical one that you purchase.
- Don’t Waste Leftovers
Most children don’t like eating leftovers – but it doesn’t have to be that way at all times! Modify these left overs – for instance, if you served nachos for lunch, why not use the leftover salsa and meat for burritos? There’s a variety of things that you can do, and sometimes, you just have to be creative.
- Keep It Colorful
Nothing can make a child’s meal more interesting than serving them colorful meals. As a matter of fact, why don’t you let your child add a bit of food coloring as you prepare their meals? Let them choose which color they like, or, you can even allow them to add colorful sprinkles to their spinach or other meals.
- Pasta with a Twist
One of the best things about pasta is that you can choose from a wide range of shapes and sizes. Cooke pasta with white sauce, and if you have leftover sauce, why not cook pasta of a different shape?
- Let Them Choose
Store fruits and vegetables in separate containers, and bring out 3 -4 containers during mealtimes. Let your child choose at least one for that particular meal.
This way, they won’t have to eat the same fruits and/or vegetables every day, and they get to discover new fruits and vegetables that could be their next favorite.
The important thing is that your children should get used to the idea of CHANGE. Once they are used to these changes, mealtimes won’t be as challenging as it used to be.