Having a picky eater in your home could be a stressful situation. Your dining table could be grounds for a battlefield as opposed to a sacred part of your home where meals and memories are shared. When it comes to certain foods like vegetables, specifically broccoli, dealing with a picky child is like a constant negotiation of why certain foods are important to consume. In the end, you just give up and let them have their way.
Of course, it reaches a point where picky eaters just change their ways and are more accepting of what they fought against for months, even years on end. The journey to that point though can be one that is extremely exhausting.
Well, you’ve guessed it. This article will give you tips and strategies on how to deal with a serious picky eater.
Toss the titles
One common mistake parents make without realizing is creating titles for their kids. Especially when it comes to their children’s eating habits. When you say, ‘Oh no, she’s a picky eater, she won’t eat that.’ or ‘He’ll only eat chips.’ You’re basically inviting the notion of your child being a picky eater and labelling your child as the one who ‘won’t eat’ something or who’ll ‘only eat this particular meal’ that is who they’ll be.
Let’s be real. Children are THE MOST curious beings you’ll ever come across. They know how to ask questions and more questions even after they are answered. So, if you’re dealing with a picky eater in your household, always make room for curiosity in the kitchen.
Involve your children in mealtime prep and allow your children to ask as many questions on the how’s and why’s of cooking. This will help them in knowing what they’re eating and even more so, being a part of the cooking process and sparking interest in the new foods they would be willing to try.
Variety is the spice of life
Diminish the dishes you would serve on a regular basis and switch things up! Instead of your usual mash, chicken and broccoli for dinner, serve up a homemade lasagna. Reducing the amount of times your serve a certain meal day after day and mixing up your meal plan will automatically make your kids less fussy and expectant on what’s to be eaten. Everyday will feel like a whole new adventure at the dinner table!
Let your kids take control
If you want your children to be interested in what they’re eating, make them part of the kitchen staff. Take for instance, burgers. Instead of preparing individual burgers for each of them, lay out all the ingredients on the table and let your kids take control. This is your chance to have all the veggies that go well with the meal as part of letting your kids make a decision on what to eat.
Avoid making dessert or sweets a reward
When you bribe your children with candy or ice cream as a reward for eating vegetables, you’re indirectly stating that vegetables are the bad guys. Don’t be that parent. As an alternative, take the time to use foods they would normally shy away from as a core approach to good food. Don’t let eating veggies seem like a punishment. Make it more of a wonderful thing for them to do. Ice cream is just a bonus.
Make more suggestions
If there’s one way to get your kids to try new things, is to offer more suggestions or choices. When you give your kids their afternoon snack of lets say a sandwich, ask if they would like cucumbers or carrots. When its breakfast, ask if they’d like apples or papayas with their toast. Dinner time? Ask whether they’d like salad or steamed veggies.
Creating options gives them an opportunity to pick one or the other healthy food and it’s definitely a win-win situation. They feel like they had a say in what they eat, and you’ve managed to ensure they’ve eaten at least 1 healthy item.