Kids can be picky eaters at times, refusing to eat anything but hot dogs or not wanting to eat anything green. It can be a battle to ensure that your kids get the right amount of food to keep them nutritionally balanced and at times that battle can be nearly overwhelming. So what do you do? Follow some basic tips and advice for dealing with picky eaters and you will be able to keep you children nutritionally sound and help to curb the habit early on.
- Tip #1: Offer Nibbles
Younger children often like to graze throughout the day rather than having large meals, so instead of forcing 3 large meals on them give them five smaller ones that they can nibble off of while they play.
- Tip #2: Turn Mealtime into Funtime
Kids want to be entertained even during mealtime, so make it as fun as possible by including foods that needs to be dipped or spread with a messy or delightful “topping” that will entertain them. Of course keep in mind that you want to keep all ingredients as healthy as possible so stick to toppings such as cottage cheese, peanut butter, yogurt, cream cheese, etc.
Advice for Parents: Don’t Force Your Kids to Eat
One of the most damaging things you can do is try to force your child to eat when they don’t want to. Don’t bride, coerce or force a meal or snack on them as it can create a power struggle that can do more harm than good. Forcing kids to eat can instill a sense of frustration or anxiety at meal time that can leave them always having issues with food. So unless they haven’t eaten food in a long period of time, trust your child to know when they are hungry or not.
- Tip #3: Create Fun Drink Foods
When some foods fail to impress in their original state it might be good to try turning them into smoothies or shakes as an alternative. Create colorful, but nutritious drinks for your children by turning fruits, vegetables and milk into a colorful and flavorful drink. If you are worried about your child not getting enough nutrition include supplements like egg powder, wheat germ and peanut butter to give them extra nutrients.
- Tip #4: Do Group Mealtimes
If your child isn’t liking a certain food serve it at a group meal and invite children over their age who like the food. Oftentimes kids will see their friend eating the food and want to try it just to be like them.
Advice for Parents: Be Patient When Introducing New Foods
Even full grown adults have issues with trying new foods, so be patient with your kids when they are unwilling to try something new. If after a few times of trying to get them to eat it doesn’t work, you may not be able to get them to eat the food anytime soon. Children’s taste buds and interests change as they grow older, so it just may take them a while to turn a new food into one of the acceptable foods they’ll eat.