Here’s something for parents of picky eaters. A recent study looked at different strategies we use to get our kids to eat stuff they don’t like . . . a.k.a., vegetables. And it found one strategy in particular that DOESN’T work . . .
Offering them a REWARD for eating something they don’t like isn’t a great strategy. And it probably won’t get them to change their eating habits long-term. They might eat their broccoli JUST to get chocolate for dessert. But long-term, it could simply reinforce the idea that broccoli is bad, and chocolate is good.
Here are five strategies that tend to work better, according to the study . . .
1. Repeated exposure to the food they don’t like. Meaning you keep serving it to them, and push them to eat it until they get used to the taste.
2. Setting a good example by eating the food yourself, and showing them you like it.
3. Preparing meals together and teaching them how to cook.
4. Hiding the taste with other flavors, like putting butter or cheese on vegetables. It’s not the healthiest option, but veggies with cheese are better than no veggies at all.
5. Making the food look more interesting by doing things with it, like arranging vegetables in the shape of a face. Obviously that one’s meant for 3 and 4-year-olds, not 14-year-olds.