Dealing with picky eaters is not easy!
“I don’t like that.” How many have you heard that before? Getting your child to eat something other than chicken nuggets and mac & cheese can sometimes feel like an overwhelming and impossible task. Our child care teachers have put together our best tips to get those picky eaters to try new foods.
Enjoy these simple tips:
Getting your child to help you cook a meal can sometimes get them to try some foods they wouldn’t normally eat. Have your child help by dumping, mixing, or counting ingredients as you need. Not only will getting them involved with the cooking help them try foods they wouldn’t normally try, helping them cook will also help them develop math and science skills.
You know your child best and what would be developmentally appropriate for them to be able to do, but remember, even toddlers are capable of getting involved (although they may need a bit of help dumping).
As your child gets older, allow them to help more by using electric mixers or even stirring items on the stove. This will also empower them and help them to embrace their independence.
It’s OK to be silly
It seems we can never remind those little’s around us to not play with their food, but what if that was the exact thing that got them to eat? Consider using cookie cutters to cut food into different shapes and sizes. Making food ‘fun’ to eat could get your child to try that hamburger (it is in the shape of a heart after all).
You can always take it one step further and add food coloring to foods. When we dye the milk red/pink during Valentine’s Day or green on St. Patrick’s Day, the children get such a kick out of it.
When all else fails, get creative
Sometimes, when all the other options fail, you just have to get creative. Consider swapping regular peanut butter, almond butter, try making a pizza with a cauliflower crust instead of a bread crust. Everyone knows adding cheese to veggies instantly makes them more delicious, give that a try.
Swap out your regular pasta with whole grain pasta. It never hurts to high veggies, or grains in foods you know your kids love. They may catch you, or they might not notice a difference.
No thank you bites
Sometimes all a child has to do is try a food to find out if they like it. Sometimes they may think it doesn’t taste good, when in reality they just don’t know. Have them take a small ‘no thank you’ bite to try it out. That way they gave it a try and ultimately, that is all you can ask for.
Try, try and try again
Just because a child doesn’t like something today, doesn’t mean the won’t like it tomorrow. Consider introducing a variety of foods at all different times to accommodate their growing and changing palettes. When it isn’t a hit the first time, don’t write it off. Just because they didn’t eat it one time, doesn’t mean they won’t try it or eat it another time.
You are not a restaurant
While it may be easy to cook each child exactly what they want, you need to remember, you are not a restaurant or short-order cook. Always giving them the exact meal they want, will not encourage them to try new or different things.
When making any meal, consider having at least one thing included that you know they will eat, this will take the pressure off of having an entire meal they don’t like. Having one thing they will eat will give you assurance that they are getting fed, while you can positively encourage them to try the other items in front of them.
More often than not, children eventually grow out of the picky phase, but while they are in that season of life, it can be unbearable. Use one (or all) of our tips above to try your best to combat the picky-ness. Try you best not to let it overwhelm you, after all it won’t last forever.