Has your child started refusing to eat or wants to eat the same food over and over? It seems like you’re dealing with a picky eater.
In the initial years, parents have complete control over what they feed their children. As children start to understand the taste and start feeding themselves, they tend to grow picky about what they eat. It usually occurs after a child turns two.
Kids are now old enough to choose what they eat, but not old enough to understand what nutrients and vitamins they need from food. Getting kids to eat the recommended portion of fruits, veggies and other food groups is a Herculean task which ultimately falls on the parents head.
What if there’s a way to get your finicky child to eat all their food? And the best part is, it’s just a simple list of tips and tricks you can easily add on to your daily routine.
Here are some strategies that every parent can use to help their child enjoy a range of foods.
Variety is key!
It’s important to introduce new foods in different preparations into your child’s diet. Whether it is plant based or animal-based foods, the way you prepare it presents palatable textures for kids to enjoy. This is especially important in the case of vegetables since most children do not enjoy the texture or taste of vegetables.
Experiment with different methods to cook your veggies and meat like grilling, boiling, baking, roasting or broiling. Better yet, involve your kids – with the necessary safety precautions – in the cooking process and make them interact with the baby food they eat
Serving manageable portions
Children between the age of two and five are easily distracted or bored, so eating should be an engaging experience for them. When food is served in chunky bits, they can gag and vomit because the food is harder to chew.
Finicky kids can also get fatigue or bored from chewing on big portions of food, so controlling portion sizes is the way to go! If you serve smaller, cut-up pieces, it becomes easier to chew, and your kids can become successful vegetable, fruit and protein eaters.
Sensory food issues
When kids want to be more in control of their eating experience, they can refuse foods. You can let them decide what they want to eat, within some extent.
Children can reject the food on their table because the texture of skin, seeds or the juices in their fruits and veggies are not appealing. You can peel or grate the food but this may not be feasible all the time. In cases like this, parents can offer food like tomatoes and bell peppers where the nutrients exist throughout instead of just in the skin.
Hold their attention
Children are not known to have a ton a patience when it comes to food, especially when they are picky eaters. A parent can easily tackle this by setting up the table before the kid arrives and placing the healthy food closest to their reach. You may also choose to add more colour to their plates by incorporating a healthy mix of items.
It helps to give your child the space to start and stop eating. It’s good to keep mealtimes short and an interactive experience, where the kids can indicate what they like, what they refuse and when they are finished.
Don’t hesitate with condiments
During this period of time, your toddler’s taste buds are still developing. Vegetables may taste bitter to them but that is absolutely no reason to leave it out of their meal! So, this is where condiments and dips come in.
This is a great trick to use with raw vegetables that are full of vitamins and nutrients, but maybe not full of great flavor. Dunking fruits and veggies into dressing, condiments like mayo and ketchup, ranch or dips is a great way to keep your child interested in eating their veggies.
Teaching children to enjoy fruits and vegetables as part of their meal does not have to be stressful. Say goodbye to finicky kids and find your way to successful interactive mealtimes that include a variety of food.
These five tips are less effort and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Take it one step at a time to navigate through these tips to make difficult food more enjoyable for your picky eaters.