Having a child that won’t eat what you have cooked for supper can cause headaches and tempers to fly. It can be very hard to make sure you are cooking good foods that your kid won’t eat. Twenty percent of kids are picky eaters that it can be difficult to get them to eat anything. Usually kids outgrow picky eating, but it can be a hard to get through this stage. There maybe even moments when you want to scream, “Go ahead and starve.” There are some better ways to handle your picky eaters.
There are some things you can do to make sure that eating new foods is a good experience and not a battle. Try to make time for family meals. This means no distractions from television or cellphones. Sitting all together all eating the same food can show the child that they are eating everything that is expected of the other people in the family. Set a meal schedule that you follow. So your child’s body gets used to when it should be hungry and is ready for meals.
Also make sure you are cooking age appropriate foods for your child. Don’t expect them to have the same mature pallet that you may have. Allowing them to try these exotic foods is good to but don’t require them to eat it. Make sure that you let your child eat when they are hungry. Forcing them to eat foods when they aren’t hungry can cause for tempers to fly and for eating to be a negative experience for them.
Another fun thing to try with a picky eater is to allow them to be part of the meal prep. Get your tiny chef in the kitchen with you so that they can help and see what is going into the meal you are preparing. Making food fun is also a good way to attract your children to different foods. Getting a good variety of fruits and vegetables that are colorful and spiced up can make them look appealing to your kids. The more whimsical the food looks the more likely your child will be inclined to try it.
Something else that can help get your kids to try new foods is have them be around other children. Seeing a child of similar age eat something that is new can cause the picky eater to want to try the food too. Like tiny peer pressure or positive influence of other kids can help your child branch out of their normal picky eating.
One thing to try and stay away from is bribing. Make sure that you don’t bribe your child to try foods. This can lead to a chain reaction that is hard to break. Your child may expect to get treats or special somethings after every food they eat if they are given a bribe once for eating a food. Bribing can lead to your child trying to negotiate with you daily over meals that can cause meals to be exhausting.
Going along with not bribing try not to make a second meal for your child. Make one meal that everyone has to eat. If the fight gets too much that the child just refuses to eat, make sure you have an easy healthy option that you can have as a backup. Such as a yogurt, or fruit smoothie or salad. Something you know the child likes but isn’t a whole new meal that adds extra stress onto who prepares the meals.
Try to stay calm during all the fuss. It can be very hard to have your child turn up their noses at foods that you have worked tirelessly in the kitchen to make. And it can be the first reaction to get angry. Know your child knows their body, they know when they are hungry so kids will eat when they are hungry. Make sure if they have had a big breakfast or lunch they may not need a big supper. Have lots of choices for your kids, healthy, new and different. Once they try one new food, branch out from there to see what else you can try that is similar.
Hopefully this stage of picky eating will end soon for you. If you are concerned about your child’s nutrition talk with your pediatrician.
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