Do you have a picky eater? As your child begins to eat solid food, they will start to make their own food choices and decide what foods they like or dislike. It is important to introduce your little ones to new foods. However, you may get some push-back. You may be wondering “How can I get my child to eat new foods?” This week’s blog post will give you some strategies to try with your picky eater.
Tasty Tips for Picky Eaters:
1. Have fun with food! Be creative when presenting new foods to your little one. Make their plate colorful and use cookie cutters to cut food into familiar shapes. Children love bite-size food that they can easily pick up or dunk into yummy dips. Make sure to cut your child’s food into small bites size pieces to avoid choking hazards.
2. Play “Child Chef!” Involve your child when making meal decisions. This is a great opportunity for your child to help out in the kitchen in a developmentally appropriate way. This allows them to take ownership of the foods they are making and can encourage them to try new foods.
3. Try, try, and try again when it comes to new foods, children will usually touch, smell, take little bites, and put the food back on their plate before giving it a “real” try. Children usually need to be exposed to the same food 10 to 15 times before they will be willing to eat it. Forcing your child to eat new foods right away can cause further issues down the road.
4. Stick to a routine. If possible, enjoy your meals together. Minimize distractions, focus on family time, whatever that looks like in your home, be a role model for your child; make sure they see you eating and enjoying a variety of healthy foods. Provide everyone at the table with the same foods. Make sure to have at least one item on the plate that you know your picky eater will eat.
5. Keep track of different textures your child seems to like or dislike. Does your little one tend to enjoy soft foods, like mashed potatoes? Does your little one not tends to shy away from slimy foods like Jello? Understanding what type of textures your child enjoys can help when preparing meals for them.
6. Provide a small treat at the end of the meal. This doesn’t mean you should serve cookies or ice cream every night. A cup of fruit or a few cubes of cheese can work just as well. Make dessert a part of the meal, even if your child did not eat all of their food. Don’t use dessert as a bribe because this usually results in a power struggle that is unnecessary. It also teaches your child to associate unhealthy foods with rewards. Providing a small tasty treat at the end of each meal can help your child eat more nutritious foods.
Remember, your child’s eating habits won’t change overnight. Forcing your child to try new foods probably won’t work in your favor. Continue to expose your picky eaters to new foods and make eating fun!
If you are concerned with your child’s growth or development, please consult your pediatrician.
Bubbles wants to remind you to, “Stay Healthy!”