Does your kid refuse to eat anything apart from chicken nuggets? Or does your toddler play instead of eating anything at all?
If it happens to you, you’re not alone. A lot of parents worry about what their children eat, (or don’t eat!) So, until your child’s eating preferences mature, here are some tips that will help you through everyday mealtime battles:
Involve your child in meal planning
If mealtimes are a constant battle between you and your kid, then letting them help you in the actual meal preparation can help. When you involve your kids in the cooking process, they’ll be much more willing to try out new foods.
You can even take this beyond the kitchen, such as allowing them to plant with you in the garden. The more you get them involved in the actual meal planning and preparation, the more they’ll try it once the meal is cooked or done.
Pair new foods with familiar ones
Most picky eaters have at least some flavors and food that they like! So, why not make the most of those? If you want to serve new or food that they dislike, serve them with more familiar foods to make this a lot easier!
Let’s say your kid hates broccoli but loves to eat pasta. Try placing a nimble amount of broccoli to your pasta dish.
Get creative and make food fun
Children are more open to eating foods if it’s arranged in an eye-catching, or creative way. So, make sure that what you prepare is irresistible for your picky eater!
Create fun, colorful shapes. Kids also enjoy any type of food that has a dip. So, cut solid food into smaller, bite-sized pieces. See to it that it’s small enough to avoid choking.
Don’t become a short-order cook
When you respond to your kid’s rejection of a meal by offering to cook something else, you’re encouraging their behavior.
Meanwhile, if a child knows that the meal you’ve prepared is the only thing that could be eaten until the next mealtime, then they’ll think twice before pushing away the plate.
Don’t bribe them with treats as rewards
Food, especially sweet treats are enjoyed by the family, but you shouldn’t use it as a bribe for finishing their meal or eating something they don’t like.
By bribing them with treats, you’re not encouraging healthy eating habits.
Mealtime should be a family affair
As much as you can, eat meals together as a family. Turn off any media distractions such as smartphones, tablets, and TVs during mealtime.
Again, cook a meal for the entire family, and refuse to cook anything if your child doesn’t eat what you served, as this only encourages their behavior of being a picky eater. Provide a balanced meal as well.
Over to You
If you’re still concerned about your child’s diet, you should talk with your pediatrician to ensure that your kid still gets all the essential nutrients to grow, develop, and stay healthy.