Top 7 Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters
7 Top Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters
Picky Eating in kids is becoming more and more of an issue and I often see frustrated parents in my clinic worried about their kids getting enough nutrition. It is a well known fact that after the rapid growth cycle that many babies go through in the first 12 months, both appetite and the rate of growth in a toddler tends to slow down. This is normal and expected.
As you start to introduce solid food to toddlers they will develop food preferences often on a hit and miss basis. One day they like it next day they don’t. As a mum I was very sneaky in that I used to hide things like broccoli in the soup or muffins I made or anything else that they didn’t like much but I knew was really good for them. Capsicum (Red Peppers) were the exception, My younger son Nick could smell them in the food and to this day can’t stand them!!! Remember you will win some and lose some!
Fortunately, there are ways to help your child expand their palate and develop healthier eating habits.
Here are my top 7 tips to help you get through this period.
Kids are naturally curious, so use that to your advantage when introducing new foods. Encourage them to try new things, but without pressure or coercion. Offer a small taste and let them explore the texture, smell, and taste of the new food. Allow them to spit it out if they don’t like it, but encourage them to try again another day. Offer them a variety of foods from all the food groups.
2.Get Them Involved
Kids are more likely to eat foods they help prepare, so involve them in the cooking process. Take them grocery shopping and let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try. Encourage them to help with meal preparation and make it a fun activity. Even if they don’t eat the food, they may be more willing to try it because they had a hand in making it.
Kids are more likely to eat a food if it looks fun or interesting. Cut fruits and vegetables into fun shapes, use cookie cutters to create fun sandwiches, or make a colourful fruit salad. Serve dips or sauces with vegetables or whole-grain crackers for added flavour.
4.Stick to a Routine
Kids thrive on routine, and mealtime is no exception. Try to establish regular meal and snack times, so your child knows when to expect food. This can help prevent grazing throughout the day and encourage better eating habits.
5.Don’t Use Food as a Reward or Punishment
Avoid using food as a reward or punishment for good or bad behaviour. This can create an unhealthy relationship with food and encourage overeating or restrictive eating habits.
6.Set a Good Example
Kids learn by example, so make sure you’re modeling healthy eating habits. Eat a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, and avoid making negative comments about foods in front of your child.
7.Hypnotherapy can often help kids who struggle with food choices particularly if there is a deeper reason why the child is not eating. It could be fear or anxiety related and using the mind to overcome these emotions can work well.
In conclusion, dealing with a fussy eater can be challenging, but with patience and persistence, it’s possible to expand your child’s palate and develop healthier eating habits. Remember to offer a variety of foods, encourage exploration, and get your child involved in the cooking process. Most importantly, avoid pressuring or coercing your child and set a good example with your own eating habits. If you have tried everything and you are still struggling with your child’s food choices send Elaine an email and let see if hypnotherapy could help.