Has your preschooler refused to eat anything other than chicken nuggets for the past two days? Or would your toddler rather play than eat anything at all? There are so many possible reasons for picky eating, but whatever the reason; finding ways to deal with it is a good place to focus your energy and attention. Remember…celebrate every little accomplishment…one bite leads to more! Check out our simple solutions to help transform your picky eater!
Get Them Involved
Although your first instinct may be to shoo your toddler from the kitchen, studies show that kids who do some mealtime prep are more enthusiastic about trying the fruits (and veggies) of their labor. So let your toddler sprinkle cheese onto the pasta, toss the blueberries into the oatmeal, or spin the salad spinner. Chances are they will be more willing to try something they helped make.
Be Patient With New Foods
Young children often touch or smell new foods, and may even put tiny bits in their mouths and then take them back out again. Your child might need repeated exposure to a new food before he or she takes the first bite. Encourage your child by talking about a food’s color, shape, aroma and texture — not whether it tastes good. Serve new foods along with your child’s favorite foods.
Eat Together When You Can
Sure, it’s hard to get everyone to the table, but try to eat together a few times a week. After all, toddler see, toddler do: Your child’s more likely to want a bite of something if he sees the rest of the family enjoying it.
Be Creative and Make it Fun
Little tricks can sometimes encourage better eating. For instance, you could cut foods into fun shapes using cookie cutters. Turn mealtime into a game to see who can “eat all their colors.” Or try an at-home picnic for a change of scenery.
Get creative with presentation too! Your child’s plate doesn’t always have to look the same. You can string beans or noodles around the edge of the plate. Try alternating veggies, meat and grain in mini-piles or stripes all over the plate, or combine them to make a design. Use anything other than a kitchen plate to serve up food. It’s so easy to use colorful containers, toy dishes, an ice cube tray, or a muffin tin as dishes. These platters often make a meal or snack more interesting to a child.
How do you make mealtime fun for your child?