16 Jan Got a Picky Eater? Try These Tips!
Whether it’s negotiating a bite of broccoli for a cookie later or making your child finish their peas in order to leave the table, mealtime is a familiar battle for some parents.
Fortunately, there are strategies to help bring the joy back to mealtimes, help create a positive relationship with food, while also adding some nutrition! Try these tips below:
Be a Positive Role Model
As a parent, you are your child’s most important role model—especially when it comes
to making healthy choices. If you eat healthy and try new foods, your child will most likely too. On the other hand, if you ask your child to eat their veggies and you aren’t yourself, it’s probably not going to work.
Know Your Responsibilities
Essentially, parents and caregivers are in charge of deciding when, where and what to eat. Kids, on the other hand, are responsible for whether or not to eat, and how much to eat. This allows children to take control of their eating habits without feeling pressure from their parents.
Make Food Fun
There are SO many ways that you can make mealtimes a little more fun for your children. For example, you could cut foods into different shapes using cookie cutters, encourage your child to cook with you, or even give your meals a fun name after they help you make it. Make a big deal of serving “Johnny’s salad” or “Amanda’s fruit bowl”!
Try Out Different Textures
Changing the textures of foods may be more appealing to your picky eater. For example, if you discover that your child doesn’t like diced apples, maybe trying applesauce or adding peanut butter would be a better alternative!
Avoid Making Separate Meals
If a child is refusing to eat certain foods, parents often may be tempted to make a separate meal, but that only gives in to the childs’ behavior! Think about it… If your child knows you’ll make them something else they already like, they’ll never take the opportunity to try new foods! Instead, be sure to include some foods in each meal that your child usually likes to eat and add one new food at a time.
Patience goes a very long way when dealing with picky eating in children. Gently but frequently offer new kinds of foods. Children need to be offered a new food as many as 10-15 times before they will eat it! Staying positive and supportive throughout is key!
Although picky eating is a normal part of life, there’s no question that it can be a frustrating stage for parents to overcome. Hopefully this article helped you to gain a new perspective and new ideas to help your picky eater learn to embrace healthy eating!
Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, CDE
Registered Dietitian/ Consultant