“I’ve told you for the last time to eat your vegetables!” That’s a statement that is heard in homes with young children all over the country, possibly all around the world. Coping with a picky eater isn’t fun, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.
Photo Credit: The Guardian
Consider using these ten suggestions for improving your picky eater’s eating habits.
They may be what you’re looking for as you try to get them to clean their plate and eat all of the things you know are good for them.
1. Try something new. Even though the picky eater in your home may only want to eat macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, don’t stop offering new foods. Make a rule that they have to eat at least one bite of a new food whenever they are offered. Keep offering new foods and you may be surprised when they actually start eating it.
2. Use an artistic flair. You’ve seen the beautiful meals in magazines and on television. Try making their plate visually appealing to entice them to try something new. Put a rainbow of foods on their plate. Find the different foods that come in their favorite color and create a meal around them.
3. Make subtle changes. There are a myriad of ways to alter recipes to make them healthier. Instead of using oil the next time you bake a cake, why not use applesauce. Make a fruit smoothie instead of a milkshake for dessert.
4. Get them involved. Ask your child to help you prepare meals starting with planning the menu, going grocery shopping, prepping the food, and then making a meal they and the whole family will love.
5. Set a good example. If you want your picky eater to eat their vegetables, they need to see you eating yours. Choose carrot sticks instead of potato chips. Have broccoli, cauliflower, and celery easily accessible in the refrigerator.
6. Stop in-between meal snacking, particularly right before a meal. Juice and milk also fill tummies, so you may want to give them water to drink during the meal.
7. Give them choices. Offer mashed potatoes or baked potatoes, peas or carrots, or strawberry or grape jelly on their sandwich. This is one way teach them to make decisions and give them control over what they eat.
8. Don’t let them treat you like a short order cook. Make the meal you planned for the family and that’s it. If they are hungry, they can eat what you’ve fixed.
9. Remember that being picky about what they eat may be a phase. Their tastes can change from day to day, so tomorrow they may like everything they didn’t like today.
10. Be sure they try something at least twice before declaring that they don’t like it. If they don’t want to eat what’s being served, let them know that they can sit quietly at the table with the family until the meal is done.
Coping with a picky eater isn’t an easy task, but it doesn’t have to be a tug-of-war. Continue to offer them new foods and expect them to at least try them. It’s quite possible that they will outgrow being a picky eater and when it happens you can be glad you used one or more of these suggestions.