Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tricking the Picky Eater

I come from a family of very picky eaters. There were many nights where my three younger sisters would rather have gone without food for a night than try something new. My parents were always trying to encourage us to try a little bite of that new food item on our plate because as they said, "It won't kill you". My sisters, of course, thought otherwise. You could always count on one of them to be sitting at the table long after dinner was over, refusing to eat what was on her plate. I'm sure many other families experience similar situations in their own homes. Many of you might be asking yourselves how do I get that stubborn child of mine to try something that isn't macaroni and cheese or pizza?

Here are some tips to not only get your picky eaters eating, but to get any child eating healthy.

1. Be a Good Role Model- Many little kids want to do exactly as their parents do, and a child's eating habits are directly related to the eating habits of her parents. If you want your child to eat his broccoli, make sure to eat yours too!

2. Involve Your Children- When you are not in a hurry, take your children shopping with you so that they can explore new foods at the grocery store and ask questions. Also, let your kids help in the kitchen because they will most likely be more invested in their food if they helped create/cook it.

3. Start Early- Expose your child to healthy foods at a young age because their food preferences will remain with them throughout their life.

4. Make One Meal for the Whole Family- Do not make a separate meal for adults and children. If you make two meals, the kids will not branch out and try new foods.

5. Sensory Activities- Some children may not like a food because of the texture. If your child gets more involved with sensory activities, she can familiarize herself with new textures. Check out our sensory activities board on Pinterest for some fun ideas.

6. Be Sneaky- It's okay to sneak extra fruits and veggies into your child's favorite foods! Check out this website for some great, easy recipes

7. Avoid Frequent Snacking- Let your child have two small snacks during the day, but do not allow him to graze throughout the day. If he snacks all day or has a snack too close to dinner, he won't be hungry for the meal.

8. Make Mealtime Fun- For younger children, you can arrange food into fun pictures or patterns on the plate, let your child use a fun utensil such as a toothpick, use cookie cutters to cut food into fun shapes, or use this fun idea and have muffin tin meals. Sometimes all it takes is a little creativity.
Photo Credit
Photo Credit
9. Keep Introducing New Foods- A child may have to see a certain food on his plate 8-10 times before she actually wants to try it let alone like it. Don't force your child to eat the food, but keep having the food on the plate so that when she is ready it's there for her to try.

10. Most importantly, stay positive and don't give up! If your child does not want to eat something right now just move on and try again. Be supportive of your child, and when he does finally eat the new food, give him praise and acknowledgment.

As a little kid, one of my favorite books (and episodes of Arthur) was D.W. the Picky Eater. D.W. hates so many different types of foods, especially vegetables! She is so picky, that her parents stop taking her out to restaurants.On her grandmother's birthday, though, the whole family goes out to eat at a nice restaurant, and D.W. orders a pie. She loves the pie only to find out it is made with lots and lots of spinach. You can watch the episode with your children here.

Check out this link to find more tips to help with picky eaters as well as some kid friendly recipes. There are so many different tips and tricks for helping children eat health foods.

What are some tips that you have found useful in helping your picky eaters?

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