Kids who are picky eaters can really take parents by surprise. One day they’re asking for food constantly and eating everything you put in front of them, and the next they are throwing it on the floor and crying like the world is about to end.
Below you’ll find 6 things you should know about picky kids to help you ensure your kids are well fed and happy:
- You Should Respect Your Child’s Appetite
If your child really doesn’t seem hungry, you shouldn’t try to force them to eat. You definitely shouldn’t force them to clear everything on their plate. You don’t want to reinforce some kind of power struggle over food. You want them to see mealtimes as something they look forward to, rather than something that makes them anxious. You also want them to stay aware of their own hunger cues.
- Stick To A Routine
Sticking to a routine means you should serve meals and snacks around the same time each day. Bear in mind that offering your child occasional snacks is fine, but letting them fill up on juice and snacks all day long will reduce their appetite.
- Be Patient With New Foods – Keep Trying
Your child might need repeated exposure to a new food before they decide to take the first bite. Don’t give up just because the have turned their nose up at it a few times. The more they are exposed to it, the more likely they will be to try it – especially if they see you eating it too.
- Make Eating Fun
Eating should not be stressful – and there are even ways you can make it fun! Serve vegetables with a dipping sauce, and use cookie cutters to cut food into cool shapes. Don’t forget to include lots of different colors on their plates, too!
You can give them foods they love for lunch, like soft pretzels, but make sure you include vegetables and other healthy additions on the side. By giving them something they love alongside something you’d like them to try, they will be more likely to eat it.
- Hide Vegetables In Foods
If you’re struggling at first, hiding vegetables in foods could help. Vegetable pasta and bolognese, for instance. Your kids won’t even know that they are getting their five a day!
- Make Sure There Are No Distractions
Your child shouldn’t be distracted while trying to eat their food. Turn off the TV and don’t let them use a tablet or anything else while eating. This will help them to focus. It’s also important to bear in mind that adverts on TV might make your kids want to eat more sugary foods that may not be so good for them.
Picky kids can be stressful, but using the tricks above can help you get them to eat – you just need to keep on trying, and don’t give them the attention they want for it. Definitely don’t call them a ‘picky eater’ to their faces, as this will be something they will try to live up to!
This is a contributed post.