If you have a picky eater in your family, this shouldn’t be a reason for panic. There are many reasons why a child can be a picky eater. Things like their personality, sensitivity to specific tastes and smells, copying parents at eating times, social influences or power struggle can all be factors.
One thing to remember is that it is common in young children and parents panicking about it certainly don’t help the situation. As parents, we have a responsibility of exposing our children to a variety of foods and encourage them to taste them. There are ways to help create healthy eating habits for children, and we would like to discuss them in this article.
When offering food, make your child understand that your responsibility is to provide delicious food to them and they are responsible for eating it.
Variety of Foods
Include various foods on your menu. Your child should be able to choose what they want from several foods like veggies, protein, fruit or starch. This also helps with the power struggle as the child feels in control of choosing their food.
Try and Try Again
Some children take up to 15 times to finally try particular food. Don’t give up and keep offering something they’ve never tried before and eventually they may show interest to it.
Kids love anything bright and colourful, and if you can create a mini-art with their plate, they will be more excited to try something new.
If your child refuses to eat a particular food, there are ways of “hiding” it in a meal. It can be a great way of exposing your child to a taste, and before they know it, they become familiar with it. This can then help them try this food by itself.
Avoid High Calorie Drinks
If your child gets filled up drinking juices or milk during meal times, substitute their drinks with water so that they aren’t full and have space for their dinner.
Get Them Involved
Kids love helping and what better way of getting them to try new food but prepare it together! It is an excellent way for educating children about the process of making or cooking the food they are about to try, which can maximise the chances of them trying it.
Many kids get brought up on a vast amount of snacks between meals, and unfortunately, they get filled up on them throughout the day and refuse main meals. Control your child’s intake of snacks, so their tummies can take proper nutritious meals like lunch and dinner.
Create a Pleasant Eating Environment
Make sure that eating times aren’t rushed or in an unsuitable environment like in front of a TV. Create family eating times when everyone is focused on their meal. Dinner is a perfect time to talk about what everyone’s day was like and catch up as a family.
Respect Your Child’s Eating Ways
Everyone has their ways of eating food or specific food preferences. If your child would like their sandwich cut in a certain way, it doesn’t hurt to prepare it for them that way. Make sure to recognise when a child is just a picky eater from when they cannot eat certain foods to their taste sensitivity. Talk to them and identify a pattern of their behaviour around food.
If Concerned, Check for Allergies
Some food allergies or intolerances may not show up physically. If your child actively refuses
particular food, check with your GP where they can perform blood or allergy testing to find out what
might be the case.
Avoid Remaking Meals
If your child refuses to eat the meal you prepared for the whole family, don’t rush into the kitchen to prepare something specific, you know they will eat. There will be their next meal in a few hours, which they will be more likely to eat as they are hungry. This will also teach them that they need to focus on eating what they are given. If you make something else for them each time, they will continue to refuse what’s offered and wait for you to make something else at every mealtime, which is not what you want.
Include Supplements and Vitamins in Your Child’s Diet
If you are worried about your child’s nutrition and whether they are getting the best out of their diet, we strongly suggest supplementing with vitamins. Multi-Vitamins can provide general support, and other specific vitamins can provide additional needed assistance. Check the full range of Childlife Essentials supplements and vitamins to choose the right option for your child.