Top 5 Ways To End Picky Eating!
Having a picky eater on your hands can make you want to pull your hair out at every meal or give up and call out for pizza. It’s not only frustrating, but you may also worry that your child isn’t eating enough or eating the right types of food to help him grow. You may also be concerned that your child will continue to be a picky eater throughout his lifetime. Although it’s one of the most common obstacles parents face, getting your child to eat well, try new foods and become little foodies isn’t as hard as you may think. We have listed a top 5 to end picky eating habits of your child!
1. Try to eat dinner together
You’ve heard all the research: Kids who eat dinner with their parents have healthier diets, better vocabularies, get better grades, blahblahblah. I’m not going to guilt-trip you about needing to do it every night. But do try to pull it off when you can. And be realistic with your expectations. Little guys simply can’t sit at a dinner table for very long. A toddler may last only five minutes, and 15 minutes from a 4-year-old is a very good thing.
So that our children appreciate family dinnertime without feeling coerced into it, here’s what we decided: If one of our two bigger (out of the high chair, that is) kids is finished eating his dinner, he can leave the table, but he can’t hang around nearby, playing and talking and distracting the rest of us. He has to go into the living room or upstairs to his room and entertain himself. Usually, it turns out that what he really wants is our company and attention, so he’ll stay in his seat. My husband and I have our own rules to obey, too. We don’t answer the phone or watch TV during dinner.
2. Switch it up
Although you might be well intentioned, it’s no easy feat changing habits. Many parents think that the only way for their kids to be more adventurous eaters is to introduce new foods regularly but that approach usually fails. Instead, continue to offer the same foods your child already eats but don’t repeat one food more than once a day or two days in a row, something you can call “rotation rule.” If you talk to your kids about the plan, they will understand that you eat different foods on different days. If you do that even with the foods kids are accustomed to eating, it still changes their mindset and it lays the foundation for actually introducing new foods.
3. Have structure
A study out of the University at Buffalo found that preschoolers whose parents set rules about what their children can and cannot eat have healthier eating habits than those raised without rules. Give your child guidelines on how often he can eat treats to minimize power struggles. Otherwise, feeding decisions feel arbitrary and in an arbitrary world we’re encouraging our kids to fight with us because they don’t know why one day they can have a sweet and the next day they can’t. You can also try to use tickets your child can turn in when he wants a treat, which is a good way to keep track.
4. Don’t stress about missed meals & Offer dessert for breakfast
Depending on your child’s age, explain that a certain amount of meals and snacks will be served each day at regular times. It’s then his choice to either eat or not. If he refuses to eat, don’t sweat it: chances are he’ll make it up at the next meal. Breakfast can be a hard sell for kids, especially those who prefer sugary cereal over eggs.
Rather than fight about it every morning, try serving dessert for breakfast. Allow your child to eat a pastry one day and a chocolate chip muffin the next, for example. Once you get her to eat, then it’s more likely she’ll eventually eat a healthy, well-balanced meal for breakfast. Or if healthier options like yogurt with fresh fruit are also considered dessert in your home, getting your child to eat it for breakfast will seem like a treat and an option you can also live with.
5. Be positive
If you take the stress out of eating, you’ll have less power struggles and your child will be more likely to try new foods. Take your child grocery shopping, cook together and eat meals together. Make food fun by cutting food into shapes, making fruit kebabs or arrange food into creative designs. Putting an end to picky eating doesn’t have to be a power struggle every time. Offer a variety of healthy foods, empower your kids to make choices and always remember that your goal is to raise a child who will always be a healthy eater.