10 Ways to Deal with a Picky Eater
Mealtime doesn’t have to be a battle. Consider these tips to help the fussy eater in your family eat a balanced diet.
1) Follow a routine
Kids thrive on routine. Serve meals and snacks at about the same hours everyday. Avoid giving juice, milk and snacks for at least one hour before mealtimes.
2) Respect your child’s appetite
If your child isn’t hungry, don’t force him to eat. Likewise, no bribing or forcing your child to empty his plate. This may only trigger power struggle and negative feelings over food.
3) Be patient with new foods
Young children are often curious about the texture and smell of new foods. Allow your child to explore his food before taking the first bite. Encourage him by explaining about the food’s colour, shape, smell and texture, instead of whether it tastes good.
4) Get your child’s help
When grocery shopping, seek your child’s opinion and help in selecting the fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Deter from buying anything that you don’t want your child to eat. At home, encourage your child to help with simple cooking tasks such as rinse the veggies, stir batter or set the table.
5) Make it fun
Make mealtimes something to look forward to! Serve greens with a favourite dip. Present foods in various shapes or offer breakfast foods for dinner!
6) Minimise distractions
Turn off the television during meals, and don’t allow books or toys on the table.
7) Get sneaky
Add chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce, top cereal with fruit slices, or mix grated zucchini and carrots into casseroles and soups.
8) Be a role model
If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.
9) Avoid rewarding with dessert
Withholding dessert gives the idea that it’s the yummiest food, which may only increase your child’s desire for sweets. Choose one or two nights a week as dessert nights, and skip dessert the rest of the week. Alternatively, introduce dessert as fruit, yogurt or other healthy choices.
10) Prevent last minute cooking
Making a separate meal for your child after he rejects the original meal may encourage your child’s fussy eating. Keep serving your child healthy choices until they become familiar and preferred.