Most kids are at least a little picky when it comes to food. As a parent this can be problematic for many reasons. Picky eaters can make it hard to fix dinners that everyone enjoys. Picky eaters also tend to avoid many foods that are actually good for them and which they need for a well balanced diet. Here are some tips for how to deal with picky eaters and help open kids up to a variety of healthy foods.
Tips For How To Deal With Picky Eaters
The key to dealing with picky eaters is give them choice and not make it a battle while at the same time being firm and consistent about certain things.
Try One Bite Rule
To begin with, we have always had a rule in our house that you must try at least one bite. Then if the kids don’t like it, we can talk about it but they have to always at least try it. This encourages kids to be open to new foods right from the start and at the same time give them the opportunity to express their preferences.
Our try one bite rule applies each time we eat that food. For example, my son didn’t like peas at first but I always had him try at least one bite each time we had them as part of a meal so that the taste for peas would grow on him over time. I explain that our taste buds can change with time and as grow our preferences may change.
Inventive Cute Snacks
Inventive snacks like, ants on a log, that capture their interest are likely to be eaten. You can use cookie cutters to make sandwiches and fruit into fun shapes. You can arrange fruits and veggies into fun shapes like the celery Chritmas tree below or an orange slice caterpillar.
Image from Creative Kids Snacks
Healthy Recipes For Picky Eaters
Another tip for how to deal with picky eaters is that you can sneak healthy foods into familiar foods. In this way, their palate can become accustomed to the flavors slowly.
The sure stand by is taking recipes they already like and tweaking them to include some healthy component that they won’t notice you have introduced. For example, slip some zucchinis into your pasta sauce. You can mix all kinds of fresh fruits and veggies into smoothies. Yogurt loaded with fruit and a bit of hot fudge sauce or whip cream is sure to go down. If your kids like chicken nuggets, try baked chicken nuggets and/or baked fish strips.
Try these healthy recipes for picky eaters that add or sub healthy ingredients into dishes they may already enjoy:
Model Good Eating Habits
Another important point, is that modeling eating the desired foods is important. If you make a snack and start eating it, they will be sure to ask what it is and if they can have some!
When introducing new or healthy food snacks, you may want to slip a tray onto the coffee table while they are watching a cartoon. Kids seem to eat without thinking when watching TV and you might get some healthy fruits and veggies into them before they even think to ask about them!
Enlist Your Child’s Help
Another great trick for dealing with picky eaters is to get them to help you grow food and/or prepare meals. They are more likely to eat it if they get to pick it themselves and if they have put effort into the food preparation. Help them make their own healthy trail mixes and bake their own healthy muffins. Even making their own healthier cookies is a step in the right direction.
I hope you found these tips for how to deal with picky eaters helpful. What tactics do you use to deal with your picky eater?