You don’t have a picky eater? Don’t count your blessings just yet. The earlier you know that this is common and it is just part of a developmental stage and learn to accept it the better. They are just exerting control over their environment and expressing concern about trusting the unfamiliar. Some kids won’t eat food of a certain colour (mostly greens), others eat the same food daily and won’t even try anything new making the effort of feeding healthy food challenging to even the most patient parents in the world.
The key here is not to give up. Take the queue from commercials and advertisements for junk food, how they repetitively appear in our faces countless times daily with attractive colourful packaging and the catchiest jingles. More often than not, we find ourselves wanting to try it. While children don’t expect parents to break out into musicals during meal, it takes most children 8-10 exposures of new food before they are able to “buy” into it.
So let’s avoid mealtime battles and try some of these tips for a win-win for all.
- Offer only one new food at a time when they are hungry but well rested.
- Present it in a fun way, so that it is an experience rather than a command. For example, cutting it into fun shapes or if they are old enough you can get them to help in preparing their meal.
- Monkey see monkey do. Be prepared to eat what you serve. Children love to emulate.
- Limit beverages to the end of the meal preferably out of sight out of reach. Picky eaters often fill up on liquids instead.
- Creatively incorporate the new healthy food with their favorite foods to increase acceptance.
Keep trying new options but don’t force them. Give our Healthy Chicken Nuggets recipe a try!
Good luck and never give up!