Whether you have a picky eater or you are a picky eater, either way, it’s not much fun! There are so many possible reasons for picky eating, but whatever the reason, finding ways to deal with it (without pulling all your hair out) is a good place to focus your energy and attention. Remember…celebrate every little accomplishment…one bite leads to more!
Tips for Picky Eaters
1. Remain Calm. If you child picks up on your stress about their eating it can sometimes end up escalating into a battle of wills and can even become a control issue.
2. Serve Small Portions. Their little stomachs do not need much to get full and especially when trying a new food it can be far less intimidating for them to see just a small amount on their plate!
3. Respect their Hunger Levels. It’s best not to force your child to eat past where they feel full. Children tend to eat when they are hunger and stop when they are full…trust that they know their bodies.
4. Serve a new food with a Favorite. This way they can feel comfortable knowing there is something that they like on their plate to enjoy. They can mix up the two items if it helps. I still do that myself sometimes with food that isn’t my favorite but I know is good for me, I’ll only eat asparagus if I can mix it with rice!
5. Offer fruit or vegetables for snacks. In between meals let them snack all they want on healthy fruit and vegetable slices.
6. Watch the clock. Make sure to stop all snacks about one hour before your meal. That way they’ll be hungry when they come to the table.
7. Make it tasty! Serve vegetables with a yummy dip or fruit with some yogurt. Little ones love to dip their food! Try serving veggies raw and steamed – they may have a preference!
8. Get them Involved. Getting your picky eater to help you purchase food and help prepare it can be fun for them. Of course this isn’t possible all the time but occasionally make the whole process an experience they can be a part of, it can be really fun!
9. Keep it Separate. Sometimes it’s all about food touching! If this is an issue for your picky eater then when possible keep ingredients separated (think, salads, stir fry etc) Maybe like me, they don’t like their cool salad touching their warm rice or potato. This makes perfect sense to me! Those divider plates are fantastic, for some picky eaters that’s all they need to be able to enjoy their meal!
10. Food Talk. When you’re talking to your child about food try to avoid using taste as an indicator of whether a food is good or not. Instead talk about how healthy it is, it’s colour, shape and texture.
11. Role Model. If you want your children to eat healthy foods then you need to as well. This isn’t easy for a recovering picky eater like myself but it definitely works in encouraging your child to eat healthy food! Since having my daughter I’ve learned to enjoy foods that I never would have considered eating before her…Brussels Sprouts for example!
If you are very concerned about your child’s eating habits then consult your doctor or a nutritionist. Otherwise just keep plugging away and eventually your child will in most cases outgrow their pickiness. I speak from experience because am pretty sure I was one of the most picky eaters on earth as a child!