How To Encourage Your Picky Eater To Eat New Foods
Stop me if this picky eater sounds familiar. It’s Thursday at 6 and you’ve spent the last two hours creating an amazing dish that you found on Pinterest, only to find that your child refuses to touch it. Or maybe it’s lunch time and they are screaming for macaroni and cheese…again.
I know, it’s not easy having a picky eater in the house. Here are some ways to encourage your picky eater to eat new foods.
Start Small- Do you wish your child would just eat a chicken taco salad for lunch? Tons of fresh leafy greens, tomatoes, onions, salsa, sour cream, and shredded chicken. Who doesn’t like it?
One day your child may love chicken taco salads, but for now, it’s important to introduce your child to one small new food each day. Brainstorm ideas on what it is that he enjoys to eat. If he loves macaroni and cheese, you already know that creamy, and tender is the way to their heart.
Each meal, introduce one small new fruit, vegetable or grain to their plate. Start with literally one bites worth. Continue each day for a week, with the same food item.
Delay their Snacks and Limit their Sugary Drinks- Pediatricians are quick to tell you that kids will not starve, if they have options for food; eventually they’ll eat. The goal is to not force them to try new foods, the goal is to encourage them to want to try new foods.
Ever notice that when you’re hungry, you’ll eat anything in site? Try not to give them any snacks or fruit drinks or milk two hours before a meal. Have a tray of fresh cut vegetables available only, if they are really hungry, they may have a few baby carrots or celery sticks. No dip. (They’ll just keep licking the dip off of the veggie sticks.)
If your child is already full before arriving to the table for their meal, they won’t have a drive to try something new.
Create A Game- Every child loves to play games and compete, especially when they believe that they can win. Make it a game to try a new food item at each meal.
Have a sticker chart, just for new food items eaten. If your child eats a new food item, allow them to put up a sticker. Agree to how many stickers they will need before they can get a prize. Some cool prize ideas are coloring books, a ball, picking the movie on movie night, or going on a kid chosen adventure through town.
More Tips On How To Encourage Your Picky Eater To Eat New Foods
Give Flavor Options- Ever find yourself in a mood for something sweet or salty? Kids are the same way. Not many people prefer bland flavors all of the time.
Before cooking, ask your child what flavor option they’d like. Perhaps glazed carrots or carrots drizzled with ranch seasoning. Remember, small portions. You don’t have to make it this way for the whole family, but it may help them feel apart of the crowd and encouraged.
Focus On The Positive- The next time you tune into their favorite show or cartoon, point out that superheros must be strong. They will quickly agree. Start asking them what they think the superhero does on their time off. What kind of books does Batman read, where does Superman sleep, what kind of foods does The Incredible Hulk eat? Allow them to explore their imagination, and then ask them if they would like to eat like a superhero. Perhaps he can attend dinner with a cape on.
There will be times where they flat out refuse to eat a bite size of a new food item. It’s frustrating, but don’t allow your child to see that frustration. Tell your child, okay, but tomorrow we will try again. Your child will want to please you if you’re showing love and affection.
Raising a child that loves all things healthy, is every parent’s dream, but no child is alike. If you have a picky eater, they may need encouragement and time before they’re ready to start eating new foods. Be patient, yet continue on the journey to raise healthy children.
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