This post is all about tips and trick for dealing with picky eaters.
Feeding your child with wholesome, norishing food is the ultimate responsibility of parents. It nourishes your child and helps in his proper growth. A child can grow mentally and physically only if he gets proper nutrients from food.
But what if your child is a picky eater? How to feed a child who says “yuck” for every food he comes across? This is a big challenge for a lot of parents.
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What Is A Picky Eater?
If a child refuses to take any food or eats only one food, again and again, he/she is said to be a picky eater. Since the child’s food intake is restricted to a few items, parents worry about the under-nourishment of the child.
Picky eating is usually found in toddlers and preschoolers.
How do you get a picky child to eat?
1. Eat As A Family
Try to have at least one meal together each day.
Serve the same food to everyone, even though your toddler might throw a tantrum.
But remember to include at least one item in the meal which your toddler likes.
This will reduce the stress of eating an entirely new item. Whether your child eats the meal or not you should continue this pattern every day.
2. Be A Role Model
Children learn things from adults. If you follow a healthy eating habit, your child is sure to follow you and pick up good eating habits.
A child who sees his parents eating vegetables for snacks is more likely to follow the same.
To make your child eat healthy and nourishing food, you should first consume that yourself.
Children love to imitate their parents and feel like ‘adults.’
3. Set mealtime and snack time separately
Children should be taught from a very young age that mealtime is when they eat wholesome food.
Never allow the child to have more snacks (whether healthy or not) and skip a meal. The meal should be the primary consideration and snacks should be given only if the child feels hungry in between meals.
For this, you should have a set time for both meals and snacks. This way, the child will be able to make out whether it is a meal or a snack.
4. Present A Food Item In Different Ways
If your baby does not like a particular food item, you can make a variant of that item and feed the child.
For example: If your child does not like steamed carrot, then you can try to feed him grilled ones and see whether he like it. This way, you are bringing variety in meals instead of eliminating an entire ingredient.
5. Make Food Attractive
Provide food of different colors and shapes to make it look more beautiful and appealing.
If you are serving cereal to the child, you can decorate it beautifully with cut fruits.
Similarly, home-cooked noodles can be garnished with beautifully carved tomatoes to make it look attractive. Cookie cutters can be used to shape the sandwich. You can also provide an exciting dip along with the veggies to make it tastier.
Colorful and cute bowls and plates also add to the attractiveness of food.
6. Give A New Name
Presenting the food as “cauliflower” or “carrot” may not be attractive.
Try to give interesting names to the dishes like “magic cloud” for cauliflower or “orange dwarf” for a baby carrot.
Get creative with the names and feel free to include characters from the child’s favorite movies and shows, like ‘do you want some Shrek soup?’ instead of offering them ‘Spinach soup,’ bleh.
7. Introduce New Food With Your Child’s Favorite Food
This way, even if your child doesn’t eat the new food, he is sure munch on his favorite. Also, it is best to serve the new item in small quantities until he picks up the taste.
While introducing a new food, talk about the food, it’s color and shape to make it more interesting.
8. Do Not Force-Feed Them
Leave the child until he becomes hungry. Forcing food on the child makes him dislike food or the whole idea of mealtime.
It can also create anxiety and frustration on the child which can have a negative impact.
But you should ensure that the child eats at least one proper meal a day.
9. Try and Try Again
If your child refuses to eat apples, do not give up in the first instance. You can try feeding him after a few days.
Feeding the same item at regular intervals helps the child to develop a taste towards it.
Children need 5-10 servings of a food item before they actually start liking it.
10. Keep Away All Distractions
Watching TV or playing with a mobile phone can be a distraction for the child. Keep all the gadgets away during mealtime. Let the child concentrate on the food.
This will help the child understand the taste of each food item.
Moreover, switching off TV also keep your child away from advertisements that promote sugary and less nourishing food.
Some children might dislike specific food items as they might be allergic to it.
Keep a close watch on your child and see whether he has a bellyache or even throws up after eating a particular food. This is particularly so after consuming dairy products or food containing gluten. If so, it is time you consult a pediatrician to rule out a possible food allergy.
What Are Some Interesting Finger Foods for Picky Toddlers?
- Banana, Avocado and Apple Muffins
- Rainbow omelet muffin.
- Mini banana and egg muffin
- Blueberry and banana pancake muffin
- Baby French toast
- Fish and chips
- Chocolate pretzel granola bar
- Bacon, cheese, and veggie fritter.
- Frozen fruity yogurt bite
- Sweet potato and quinoa bite.
- Apple and banana quinoa oat bite
- Quinoa and fish baby bite.
- Veggie nuggets
- Turkey breast nuggets
- Chicken nuggets
Picky eating is a big concern for most parents. But if the height and weight of the child are appropriate to his age, then you shouldn’t worry too much as it is normal for children to want chicken nuggets over broccoli.
Patience is the key while dealing with picky eaters. Through perseverance and patience, the child is sure to outgrow this difficult phase and have a more wholesome diet.
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