Even while you might feel alone in your quest to encourage your child to explore new meals, many parents face the same challenges. Actually, research shows that up to 50% of parents believe their preschoolers are picky eaters. It can be difficult to deal with kids who have picky eating habits, especially if you don’t know how to extend your child’s food preferences in a healthy and safe way.
In addition, kids who only have access to a few foods run the danger of not acquiring the diversity and quantity of vitamins and minerals that their developing bodies require to flourish.
The good news is that convincing your child to try, accept, and even like new meals may be done in a variety of ways that are supported by data. In this brief article, we will be shedding light on some of the best tips and tricks that you can implement to help prevent picky eating habits!
The texture of certain meals or their appearance may turn away some children. This is why it’s crucial to make food enticing to your child in order to encourage them to try different cuisines. For instance, a smart method to introduce leafy green vegetables to your child is by blending a few spinach or kale leaves into their preferred smoothie.
Child-friendly meals like pasta sauces, pizza, and soup may easily incorporate diced vegetables such as peppers, carrots, onions, and mushrooms. Presenting meals in a playful and imaginative way, such as by cutting fresh vegetables and fruits into amusing shapes with star cookie cutters, is another method to make them appear more enticing to kids.
Be an Example
Your eating choices affect your kids, even if you may not be aware of it. Children observe other people’s eating habits to learn about different meals and food preferences. In fact, studies have shown that younger children are far more receptive to trying new meals when their peers are also doing so. According to a study of 160 families, kids were considerably more likely to achieve daily fruit and vegetable recommendations when they saw their parents eating vegetables as a snack and a salad with supper.
Increase your intake of nutritious foods like veggies and enjoy them in front of your children during meals and as snacks. Making healthy eating a home standard and letting your kids see you eat wholesome foods can give them the confidence to give them a try.
Start With Modest Amounts
It’s common for parents to desire to serve big servings to their kids in order to ensure they receive the calories they require. However, going smaller could be preferable when sampling new cuisines. Giving children enormous servings could make them feel overwhelmed and drive them to reject the food outright.
Start with a small serving when introducing new dishes to your family and serve them before your favorites. For instance, provide your child some peas to try before their preferred lasagna dinner. If they tolerate the smaller serving well, gradually increase the quantity of the new item at future meals until a serving size that is considered normal is attained.
Reward Your Child Properly
Parents sometimes entice kids to try new foods by promising dessert or other sweets later. However, it’s possible that there are better ways to improve food acceptance. When children are given unhealthy foods as rewards, such as soda, chips, or ice cream, this can cause them to overeat and snack when they are not actually hungry. According to experts, the best way to promote food acceptance is through introducing non-food cs.
One way to express your pride in children is to simply verbally compliment them. Some examples of non-food related incentives that you may use to encourage meal acceptance include stickers, pencils, extra playtime, or letting your child pick their favorite activity to play after dinner.
Eliminate Food Intolerances
While it’s usual for kids to be finicky eaters, it’s a smart idea to eliminate food allergies and intolerances as well. Unlike intolerances, which can be more difficult to diagnose, allergies exhibit obvious symptoms including rashes, itching, and inflammation of their face or throat.
Keep track of the foods that your child won’t eat by noting them in a journal. If your child avoids foods like dairy, gluten-containing foods, or cruciferous vegetables, your child may be suffering from unpleasant symptoms brought on by a food intolerance. Take your child’s response seriously when you ask them if there are any meals that make him or her feel queasy, bloated, or otherwise ill. Consult with your child’s pediatrician to determine the best course of action if you suspect that your child has a food allergy or intolerance.
You Are in Control
Because children are incredibly persuasive, parents must always keep in mind that parents should be in charge. Even if everyone else is eating something different, picky eaters frequently request certain dishes.
It is advised that parents serve the same dinner to the entire family rather than cooking special dishes for picky eaters. During the course of the meal, make sure kids are seated and talk to them about the various tastes, textures, and flavors they are experiencing. The greatest method to foster acceptance without completely caving in to your child’s demands is to serve a dinner that includes both new foods and dishes that they already like.
The Bottom Line
If you are dealing with a picky eater, your best option is to simply have a bit of patience and understanding, and be willing to work with your picky eater instead of against them. If something isn’t working, be open to trying something else until you determine what the underlying cause is. Patience is most certainly a virtue, and the more patience you have with your little one, the more of a resolution you will come to in the end.