I don't know about you, but I have picky eaters in my house. Oh, they're better now than they used to be, but back when they were small, mealtimes were battles to be fought. Many parents today face the same issue and it can be a big one. At one point, my son was actually diagnosed with malnutrition. The whole idea that kids will eat what they need wasn't working.
So, I came up with the Rainbow Method. For kids who won't eat their vegetables, it's a nice simple way to eliminate a lot of the fighting. It's a bit more work, but well worth it for parents who want to get some decent food into their stubborn little ones.
Essentially, you provide your children with a rainbow of vegetables at each meal. I try to include 4-6 colors. Then let them know that everyone has to have at least two colors for their dinner. They pick which colors they want.
You might be surprised at how fast this removes the tension over food. It might not work for all kids and I suspect most older kids would ignore it, but for the preschool-grade school set, it has worked wonders for myself and several friends.
The trick is to include at least one veggie that each of your children likes. They'll pick that one first, of course, and then they only have to eat one "new" thing. The fact that they have a choice is what makes it really work.
Wondering what to serve? Here are a few ideas:
Red: Tomatoes, red pepper
Purple: Purple cabbage, red lettuce, eggplant
Orange: Carrots, orange peppers
Yellow: Yellow peppers, squash, yellow zucchini
White: Cauliflower, potatoes
Green: green beans, peas, lettuce, spinach, okra
I like to serve as many raw vegetables as possible since these are nice and easy to store in the fridge if no one wants them. You can also offer dips if your kids like them.
Be consistent in insisting that they always choose two vegetables and serve the veggies first at the meal. I like to put the plate of rainbow choices out while I'm finishing up the meal. That way, when they inevitably come in to ask if dinner is ready yet, I can point them to the healthy starters. They often eat more this way, munching while they wait for the pasta or main dish to finish cooking.
What do you do with your picky eaters?