In my last PediaSure Complete post I shared my personal story and struggles about having a picky eater at home. I struggled with Kitana for over a year and up until today she still fusses about certain foods.
Picky eaters are very selective about their food. If my daughter could help it, she would eat chicken and rice every day of the week.
We all want our kids to eat healthy but the question for many moms is: How?
As a mom, it’s important to educate yourself. Research and visit seminars to learn about picky eating and the tricks to solve it.
Trust me, it can get frustrating if not dealt with in the correct manner. Serving your child a plate of veggies and praying they eat it won’t work every day.
It is a challenge to get a picky eater to eat but I believe things can improve if you keep trying different tricks.
- Take your child to the store and let them choose a bowl, plate and cup. I know this may sound silly but it encourages them to want to eat in their “favourite” character plate.
- Manage mealtimes by establishing set meal and snack times. A schedule can do wonders at home, I learnt this the hard way.
- Help your child to choose healthy foods by making the right foods available to them – Get your child involved in the shopping and let them choose a fruit or veggies from their favourite colour.
- Consistently offer new healthy foods but introduce one new food at a time instead of serving a completely new meal. This is a very important tip because offering a completely new meal can scare your child.
- Encourage self-respect and self-acceptance and never criticize your child’s body type.
- Make meal time a fun learning adventure – Use this time to talk about the colour and shapes of the food and play a little game like: Let’s see who can eat all the green mickey mouse shaped fruits first.
- Use cookie cutters for sandwiches – Also another way to teach them about shapes.
- Look for fun, creative ways to educate your child about the benefits of healthy eating and an active lifestyle. I love using Kitana’s favourite “characters” to do this. At the moment she loves Dora, so I encourage her to watch the series and after she sees Dora eating a certain fruit, she asks me because she ends up being curious. Books are also another great way to teach them about eating healthy.
- Make mealtime family time by letting all family members sit together and eat the same meals. It is important to try and set an example – Your child might try it because “Daddy” is eating it.
- Avoid television and other distractions that may lead to a disinterest in food. TV is one of the biggest distractions for my child – she would forget about eating because something interesting is on.
- Try the muffin/ice-cube tray lunches.
- Serve small portion sizes when introducing new foods and gradually move on to bigger portions.
- Resist the urge to give your child sweets and fried foods to encourage them to eat.
- Learn to understand your child’s hunger signals – Forcing your child to eat when he/she isn’t hungry isn’t going to solve the problem and if they say they are full – don’t push them to eat more. Every child has a different appetite.
- Make pictures with food.
- Give foods silly names.
- Plant a little veggies/fruit garden together.
- Always praise your child after a meal.
- Show your muscles – This always works with my child. 😉
- Let your child help you prepare in the kitchen.
By following these steps and setting a good example when it comes to their own eating habits, parents can ensure that children enjoy a stress-free relationship with food over the long-term! Also note that just because they don’t like something today does not mean that we should not try it again. Perhaps rather try serving it in a different way.
This post is sponsored by PediaSure®Complete. The comments on this page do not constitute medical advice. Your healthcare professional is best placed to evaluate your child’s growth and development. Should you have any concerns or questions, please seek advice from your healthcare professional. For product-related questions, contact the Abbott Nutrition Support Line on 0861 22 68 87.