Picky Eating Kids & Strategies
Picky eating kids can be a challenge for parents. My kids are both toddlers and picky eating is peaking. The question on the mind of many parents of toddlers is, ‘how can I get my picky eater to eat a wider variety of foods?’ This is a daily struggle at home and a daily topic of conversation in the office between my patients and I.
Some nutrition experts feel they are expressing concern over food they don’t trust or find unfamiliar.
Picky Eaters and Control
Picky eaters are trying to exert control over their environment. Some nutrition experts feel they are expressing concern over food they don’t trust or find unfamiliar. It can take 8-10 presentations of a new food before a child feels comfortable enough to try it. As frustrating as this is, it is normal.
Here are some suggestions on how to get your child to try a new food:
- Present only one new food at a time – too much can be overwhelming
- Offer new foods only when your child is well rested and hungry
- Offer new foods alongside or mixed into favourite foods
- Eat the food with your child – imitation will often lead your child to try something new
- Eat as a family – there is a lot to be said for the social experience of eating
- Have your child help prepare the food
- Display the food in a fun way – cut the food into shapes or play a game to encourage your child to try it
- Don’t offer too much fluid at the same time. Filling up on milk or juice will decrease your child’s appetite
- Limit snacks to nutritiously dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grains. If your chid is full on cookies there is nowhere for the new food to go.
- Don’t ban sweets entirely, as this will often lead to binging
- Avoid sugary and caffeine filled drinks
Read more on picky eaters by nutritionist Aviva Allen.
Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.