“My kids won’t eat their veggies!” “How can I get my toddler to try new foods?”
Does this sound familiar to you? Many children are fussy eaters. Fussy eating is normal. Here are some ideas in getting around those obstacles at meal time.
- First and foremost, if a child is hungry, he/she is going to eat. Don’t be afraid to let them get hungry.
- Second, establish a routine of meals and snacks at regular intervals so that your child can expect and anticipate their next meal.
- Don’t let them fill up on high calorie liquids (like juice or fizzy drink) or on empty calorie snacks (like chips or biscuits) in between meals. Allow only water in between set meals and small healthy snacks so that hunger can set in.
- Remember to put small amounts of food on the plate. Overwhelming a child with large portion sizes always adds up to disaster.
- Make meals and snacks more fun by giving them a name. Maybe your child has a favourite super hero or television character. Name the foods after those characters, like a superman sandwich or Wiggles eggs.
- Create themed meal nights like taco Tuesday, and watch a movie during dinner on T.V trays every Tuesday. Fridays could be pizza night, and every Friday, you serve pizza. Again, drawing on the predictability factor always equals a win for your child whose world might be turned upside down by a change in diet.
- Cutting foods into interesting shapes can entice picky eaters. Having a triangle lunch, where everything is cut into triangles including the napkins can make them interested in their food. Use cookie cutters to get sandwiches or lunch meats into different shapes, and give your child the choice of what they want it cut into.
- Kids tend to eat if they are allowed to serve themselves, or at least help with food preparation. Lots of times, kids will be much more interested in eating something that they have prepared You could also let them set the table or call everyone to the dinner table.
- Remember that our kids learn from our actions and not from our words. If you won’t eat it, why should they? Be a role model.
- Finally, never force your child to eat. If they eat just a very small amount of food for dinner, accept this, offer them their bedtime snack at the routine time, and tomorrow will be another day. If you hold to your schedule, you are calm about the amounts that they are choosing to eat, and not offering snacks or caloric liquids in between routine meal times and snack times, your picky eater will learn that he better eat what is served to him while he/she has the chance.