Feeding Picky Eaters
Feeding a picky eater is not only stressful, but it can also become very frustrating! Don’t panic, we have put together some helpful tips and tricks on how to avoid a battle at the dinner table and included some of our kid friendly recipes to help you out.
All kids have a natural fear of trying new foods. They also go through phases of liking foods; something they love today could be something they will not touch tomorrow. Keep calm and know that you are not alone. Read on for some tips to help you out on your road to transforming a picky eater into a happy eater.
1. One of the most important ways to build healthy eating habits is to eat together at the table as a family. This means putting away screens and creating a routine of sitting down to eat. This first step paves the way for eating success while also allowing you to lead by example and eat healthy, balanced meals yourself.
2. Repeated exposure of foods is especially important to help with the fear of trying new foods. Seeing the same food on their plate repeatedly changes it from something new to something less scary.
The first time you offer a new food or one that they previously have said no to, give them no more than 1-2 mouthfuls to start with. This is more approachable than giving them a full serving. Instead of forcing children to eat everything they are given, encourage them to try a taste and leave it up to them to decide if they continue eating it.
Sometimes kids honestly do not like a food. Keep offering the food they do not like with your meals but serve it alongside something you know they enjoy.
3. Another way to encourage your children to eat their meal is to get them involved in the kitchen. Have the whole family help with meal planning so that everyone knows what to expect for the week. Let your children pick their favourite foods and avoid labelling foods as bad or unhealthy. Talk about the importance of balance and variety when explaining why we cannot eat the same favourite foods every single day. Kids are also more likely to eat foods that they helped to make so do not shy away from having them help you cook dinner.
Tips for adding more vegetables and fruit to your child's diet:
- Add mashed pumpkin or squash to soup or pasta to make it creamy
- Add leafty greens to smoothies
- Add shredded carrots or zucchini to baked goods
- Try new recipes that use a variety of vegetables like stir-fry dishes or casseroles. You can easily swap in different types of vegetables each time
- Offer fruit for dessert at mealtimes, either on its own or with yougurt or dip
- Somethimes it's the texture of cooked vegetables that kids do not like; try offering raw vegetables with dip instead