Do you have a child that likes to eat a handful of different food and that's it? Perhaps getting them to try other foods is next to impossible and going to parties or events away from home is almost impossible because their dietary restrictions quite literally restricts your outings? Maybe getting them to try new types of food causes stress at the dinner table that you just don't know how to deal with?
Having a picky eater can be frustrating but it's actually quite normal. Children naturally have a fear of trying anything new which includes food. So, it's no surprise that many children are picky eaters. These 5 Top Tips for Dealing With Your Picky Eater should help get your child eating more food with less stress and more smiles all around!
1. Start Early and Small
By start early we mean to introduce a variety of healthy foods at an early age. Once your pediatrician has given you the go-ahead to start feeding your child fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods, start introducing them to your child. (Here are the Top 7 Foods You Should Never Feed Your Baby). When introducing food to your child, start small. Give them a very small portion that isn't overwhelming in size, keeping in mind that you can increase portion size later on.
2. Be Patient and Stick With It
It's easy to get discouraged by picky eaters and give in to their demands for their favorite few foods because fighting over new foods is just tiring.
However, don't give up. Most children who are picky eaters need to be offered new foods at least 6 times before they'll accept it! That's a lot, but in the end it'll pay off with healthy lifelong eating habits, right?
3. Make Exploring Food Fun
Make trying new food fun. Allow your child to help pick out new foods and experiment with different ways to eat it.
Play games with the food. Bake and cook the new foods together. Experiment with different combinations of foods. Make edible art. Make snack time a fun new time to explore food colors, textures and tastes. If your elementary aged child isn't feeling like tasting new foods, try some Science in the Kitchen experiments so that they associate fun with the kitchen.
4. Don't Restrict Foods
Restricting foods makes them all the more desirable so think of ways to cut back on foods you don't want them eating without saying no all the time. Perhaps offer them moderation or talk about only eating them occasionally or on special days.
5. Lead By Example
Definitely lead the food exploration by example. Don't expect your child to try a food that you are not willing to eat yourself. If you plan to introduce healthy foods to your child's diet, make sure that you are eating the healthier choices you are offering your child.