Meal time can be frustrating when your child only wants macaroni and cheese or refuses to eat anything green. No matter how you try to negotiate, their food preference is limited. Do you make a separate meal just for them or keep hoping they’ll warm up to something else? Picky eating can be a natural stage of development as your child’s tastes change, but there are ways you can encourage better eating habits:
- Get them involved in picking out fresh fruits and vegetables at the store. This can increase their interest. Look at it, touch it, smell it, and taste it together so it’s not something strange and new that shows up on their plate unexpectedly.
- Let them help prepare meals so they’re part of the process. They can see exactly what goes into it and be proud of their hard work. Because they helped make it, they may be more open to trying it.
- Start with small servings so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Once they’ve tried it, they can ask for more if they want it. Remember that it can take more than a dozen tries for them to acquire a liking for certain foods, so don’t give up! Keep introducing it in different ways.
- Make meals fun. Give them a sauce to dip it into or cut it into different shapes. Try to provide a variety of colors on their plate instead of something bland and boring looking.
- Stick to a routine for mealtimes. Eat at consistent times and limit snacking so you know your child is hungry when dinner rolls around and not refusing because they just filled up on a snack.
If your child still refuses new foods or certain textures and it’s affecting their health and weight, it may be time to seek professional help. Not getting enough calories or variety of vitamins and minerals can affect their development. Feeding therapy can help your child overcome picky eating and become more independent in feeding themselves. Mealtimes don’t have to be a battle. Enjoy this time together eating a variety of foods and having family discussions.
What are some of your go-to methods for combating picky eating? Leave a comment here or on Facebook!