I was a picky eater as a kid, my husband too, and now our daughter. I clearly remember those long dinners where I had to eat dishes I did not like at all. So it was one bite of food, a sip of water, a bite of food and a sip of water until the plate was empty. My husband has told me that his grandma saved the uneaten food plate and served it again for the next meal until he finished the food.
When my daughter started the baby led weaning, I knew that I wanted to let her discover different foods and hoped that she won’t be a fussy eater like we were. I also knew that I wouldn’t force my daughter to eat like our parents and grandparents did with us.
Now, my 4-year-old is a really picky eater. There are days when she eats everything and then there are days she gags when eating the food she just had eaten a couple of days ago. Instead of forcing her to eat and associate meal times with something awful, I’m trying to find new ways to get her to eat her food without all the drama.
The best way I have found to get her to eat new things is to hide them in the food she already likes. So, below you have a recipe for a healthy chocolate pudding. It’s really easy to make, works well as a snack or dessert and my daughter loves it! She has no idea that there are avocado and dates in this healthy treat!
Healthy Chocolate Pudding
- 2 big bananas or 3-4 small ones
- 1 ripe big avocado
- 2-4 Medjool dates*
- 4-5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 5 Tbsp Enfagrow Toddler Formula Ready to Feed*
*I use Medjool dates to sweeten this pudding, but you can substitute the dates for honey or maple syrup. Bananas are quite sweet, so add your sweetener (dates/syrup/honey) little by little.
* Instead of Enfagrow Toddler Formula Ready to Feed you are welcome to use other Enfamil products or your kid’s favorite milk. I used the toddler formula as it contains iron, DHA, and lots of other nutrients to help support my daughter’s healthy growth.
- In a blender (or food processor) combine bananas, avocado, dates, cocoa powder and formula. Bananas are quite sweet, so add your sweetener (dates/syrup/honey) little by little.
- Blend until smooth.
- Taste and add more dates or cocoa powder, if needed, to make it as sweet as you desire.
- Divide pudding among bowls/cups and refrigerate until chilled (for at least 30 minutes).
- Top with some fresh fruit or berries (optional).
If you wonder if I’m worried that my daughter does not eat all the fruit and veggies, then I have to say, that I’m not worried. She does eat a variety of fruit, meat, and dairy products but I do have to sneak some veggies in her food once in a while.
Instead of forcing my daughter to eat her food and try new dishes, I use these tips to help my daughter to form healthy eating habits:
- I offer the food but don’t force my kid to eat it.
- We cook together. It seems that when she has helped me with the food preparing, the attitude towards the dish is much better.
- I include new foods (in small quantities) in the dishes she gladly eats.
- As parents, we try to set a good example and eat healthily.
- I don’t make a big deal if my daughter does not finish her food and refuses to eat her food.
- If my daughter does not like the food one way, I change it up and steam, fry or bake the food if possible.