How Japanese Parents Teach Their Kids Not to Be Picky Eaters

Family & kids
2 years ago

For many parents, making their kids eat healthy food and not fuss over every dish is like taming a stubborn calf. But Japanese parents have mastered the art of convincing their kids to eat with pleasure without crying over their plates or spitting their broccoli all over the table.

Here at Bright Side, we decided to learn from Japanese parents how to save nerves and effort and make both the kid and the parent enjoy their healthy meals. We’d love for you to unveil this secret with us.

1. Let your child experiment and experience a new taste.

Children easily get bored with the same foods, and their eating habits change frequently. It’s important for a child to experience new dishes, and most Japanese parents take this very seriously. According to experts, the more a child experiences different kinds of healthy food, the more their interest will grow in healthier diets as they grow up. When you allow a child to try samples of different meals, their taste will also develop, and they’ll be inclined to try out new dishes.

2. Let them enjoy the very act of eating.

One of the reasons children develop a distaste for food is being repeatedly forced to eat something they don’t like. Let there be occasional treats for the child. Parents should avoid being too strict about healthy eating. Children should be made to enjoy their meals and including little treats can make them look forward to it.

3. Serve food on smaller plates.

The logic behind why children should be served food on smaller plates is simple — they should not feel intimidated by the size of a big plate and the portion served. And when they use smaller dishes, they are encouraged to self-serve their meals, which helps them choose what they want to eat. The portion that parents consider to be “normal-sized” may actually be too big for a kid, and parents should remember this while measuring the amount of food their kid may eat per serving.

4. Have family meals and keep the kids involved.

Japanese parents create an exclusive home atmosphere that supports healthy food and lifestyle choices. Having meals together regularly and letting their kid participate in the process of cooking may encourage them to show more interest in what they’re going to eat. Set up a pattern of healthy, delicious cooking and pleasurable eating as an example for your children.

5. Doing a lot of jumping and running.

People in Japan often prefer cycling or taking a brisk walk as their mode of travel for short distances. In a way, Japanese parents encourage their children to take on physical activities, like running and jumping. And we know the importance of physical activities when it comes to encouraging a healthy appetite. Instead of letting your kids play video games for hours, it’s better to take them out for a stroll in the neighborhood park or play a game of hide and seek at home.

Which of the aforementioned words of advice could work the best for your kid? What is your family hack on how to make a little fussy eater enjoy their meals?

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number 5 seems so obvious but I never thought about it, the more energy you burn the more you need to recover


I like the tip about keeping kids involved, I wish my parents did this more because I had to learn everything about cooking myself.


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