A lot of children go through a stage in which they only eat what they want, not what’s right for their health. My brood experienced that too; in fact, my eldest had a habit of dissecting every ingredient in his food during his toddler years. Sometimes I’d be able to coax the little boy to eat whatever’s on the table, but there are days as well when he’d sweet-talked me into giving him fries or pizza. (Oops!)
“Some pickiness in a child’s eating behavior is just a normal part of growing up, and in general, it will not hurt children’s long term development. However, picky eaters can drive their parents absolutely crazy (I know from personal experience), and although there aren’t necessarily any long-term consequences of picky eating behavior, picky eaters do get less variation in their diet and they do tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables, vitamins, minerals, and fiber than other kids,” wrote Vanessa LoBue, PhD.
I knew it couldn’t go on forever. It’s not my dream for my kids to rely on fast foods even while they’re still young since they may carry that trait into adulthood and acquire health problems later. Thus, it became my goal since then to know the ways to make picky eaters eat right.
See the techniques that work below.
- Create A Strategy
“According to the researchers, this study has real-world implications,” wrote Naveed Saleh, MD, MS. “By better understanding a child’s temperament, a parent of a picky or inhibited eater can better learn how to introduce solid foods into the diet.”
Assuming you know that there’s a high possibility that your child will say no to the new meal, especially if there are greens in it, plan on how you will react. You can’t let the kid catch you off guard because that’s when they can make you do their bidding.
- Don’t Push It
It’s wrong to force a child to eat something they find revolting – that will never result in a happy ending. He or she can cry so much and develop hate towards the food even when they grow up. You may ask your son or daughter to try it once, and then give them a healthy snack in case they honestly don’t want the breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- Make Mealtimes Fun
The fundamental way of coaxing kids to have a bite is making an airplane or mimicking the sound of a train with the spoon. If that doesn’t work for your child, however, you may go as far as creating a story with every element of the meal as the characters.
- Tell The Children The Benefits Of Each Ingredient Repeatedly
In many instances, kiddos turn away from foods since they don’t know what you put in them. You may be able to change their mind once you speak with them about the advantages of eating the ones you make. Considering you have musical skills to tap into, you can also sing about some facts regarding eggs, fish, milk, and broccoli, among others.
- Show Them Mom And Dad Are Eating The Same Foods
The most fabulous heroes in young children’s lives are their parents. In case they are old enough to consume the same meals but don’t see you eating what you asked them to eat, the kids can choose to opt out too. So, prepare foods that everyone in the family can share as an encouragement for the picky eaters.
“Parental anxiety won’t help,” Lee Gibson, PhD, says. “It’s better to learn by example, always be positive when offering food and show children how much you like a food when you’re asking them to eat it.”
- Seek Other Ways To Give Them Vegetables
Kiddos have sharp instincts; they can unearth all the ingredients they don’t like, no matter how well you think you chopped it into tiny pieces or buried them under a pile of pasta or rice. As the parent, though, you need to outsmart them by looking up different methods of introducing veggies to them.
A quick approach is turning vegetables into a puree and mixing it with any saucy dish you have. It’s also OK to make sweet treats out of them, such as a peanut butter-stuffed celery.