Picky eaters: You have all heard about them but do you have one? Are they created or are they born? There is some evidence that a child’s sense of smell can affect how willing or unwilling they are to try a new food. Or perhaps, in a moment of worry, the decision is made to offer alternative foods in an attempt to get your little people to actually eat something, anything.
Some ideas to avoid picky eating include:
- Expose them to as much as you can when they are young.
- Stand your ground. Either offer the meal you prepared or two choices you pick. If they say no, you may want to offer a backup (use the same one all the time) or let them go without eating. Unless they have medical issues, missing a meal is not that big of a deal.
If you have a picky eater what can you do about it?
- Take a little stress out of making sure your children get the nutrition they need by making sure they take a daily vitamin.
- Look at how they eat over the whole week not just one day.
- Eat with your kids.
- Don’t worry too much, it seems to go in phases (i.e. one week only cheese and buttered bread and the next week anything and everything.)
- Encourage them to try something but don’t force them to finish. (One or two bite rule)
- Don’t push food and hover – Ignoring them may lead to eating more than if you pay attention to what they eat. Alternatively, with younger children, you can make a game out of eating.
- Give them a little bit of control by offering a choice of two foods that you pick – “You can have grapes or an apple”
- Continue to make the effort to get them to eat well but don’t get frustrated or upset about it. Unless there is a medical issue, missing a meal is not that big of a deal.
- Offer healthy foods at meal-times and several healthy snacks throughout the day. Sometimes offering them the opportunity to ‘graze’ on healthy food will work. Dr. Sears recommends putting out a toddler buffet using an ice-cube tray.
- Try to offer a lot of variety. If at first they don’t like something, keep trying…again and again, and again. It can take 10 to 20 times for a child to try something new and develop a taste for it.
As with any parenting challenge, decide how you want to handle the situation and stick to your guns. Be firm and consistent.
Do you have some tried and true methods to conquer picky eating? Please add your comments below.