Variety is important in our diets, and that includes eating fruits and vegetables. Therefore, knowing the importance of healthy eating, dealing with a picky eater can be pretty frustrating. Mealtimes can become stressfully painful and a parent-child power struggle can arise leading you to ask, “What can I do?”. Don’t worry, continue reading and we’ll show you simple ways to tweak mealtime and go from fussy to foodie (or at least get your child to try new foods!).
Why are children so picky?
Before we begin, it’s important to understand why pickiness arises in the first place. There are different theories surrounding this topic.
According to research, the factors that affect choosy eating can include pressure to eat, a child’s temperament and personality, sensory sensitivity, genetics, parental feeding styles, and even specific factors such as the absence of breastfeeding and lack of variety or late introduction to different textures.
And that is not all, let’s not forget about the “terrible twos”. Toddlers are notorious autonomy seekers. This is a good thing because they are learning to become independent, but it can lead to food rejection. This is totally normal, so don’t sweat it. Here are some tips to help you solve this pesky problem.
Great tips for picky eaters
1. Share a meal as a family
Serve one meal for the whole family and resist the urge to make another meal if your child refuses what you’ve served. This only encourages picky eating.
2. Do not fuss
If your toddler refuses a meal, avoid pressuring them. It’s good for children to learn to listen to their bodies and use hunger as a guide. It’s a parent’s responsibility to provide food, and the child’s decision to eat it.
3. Do not bribe your child
Try not to bribe your children with treats for eating other foods.
4. New foods take time
Just because a child refuses food once, don’t give up. Keep offering new foods and those your child didn’t like before. It can take as many as 10 or more times to taste a new food before your toddler accepts it.
5. Make food fun
Make foods look irresistible by arranging them in fun, colorful shapes to entice your baby to eat them.
6. Involve kids in meal cooking
Invite your child to do different cooking tasks: sifting, stirring, counting ingredients, picking herbs, etc.
Finally, remember to be patient and take the introduction to new foods one step at a time. Toddlers are learning to interpret and control their world as they grow, and this might include food rejection. But don’t give in, keep offering a wide variety of healthy choices, set scheduled routines, don’t bargain or bribe with desserts, and get your toddler involved. Remember to make eating fun and keep mealtime-stress to a minimum.
On the other hand, if you fear your toddler is not growing appropriately or gags and vomits constantly when introduced to a new food, talk to your pediatrician. They will help identify any underlying medical condition or give you a specific feeding plan for your child.
Let us know how these tips for picky eaters work out and keep a look for more tips and tricks to combat picky eating in our App!