My son Ethan is a picky eater. He agrees to eat chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and french fries, but that is pretty much it. About a year ago, we finally drew the line and went the route where we stuck whatever we were eating on his plate and he either ate it or he didn’t. He has finally gotten better about eating and trying new foods, but we still have to battle with him at every single meal. It’s even to the point where we set the timer on the microwave for 20 minutes, and if he isn’t done by then (because he’ll whine and complain for that long before finally eating!), then we take it away and he gets nothing.
Like I said, it’s a battle everyday at every meal.
So I’ve done some research about what to do to get picky tots to eat. I’ll share what I’ve found with you here.
Eating one food at a time is okay. Kids need to try a new food or meal a few times before they decide if they really like it or not. Food in the wrong order is fine, too. If they want to eat veggies and then their bread, and then their meat, no problem.
Switch it up . . .Â have breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast. It doesn’t matter if they have chicken and peas for breakfast if that’s what they’ll eat. The bottom line (no pun intended!) is that it all ends up in the same place.
Nutrition counts. Be aware of what you are serving your children. Try to add color to their plates because their eyes will automatically be drawn to peas and carrots instead of mashed potatoes. Lower fat meats like chicken and turkey can be cooked the same way and even substituted for one another. The average toddler needs around 1,000 calories a day, so make them count.
By default, kids are picky and finicky. Don’t take it personally! Toddlers can be difficult little people to please! If you make something your child absolutely hates, remember that picky toddlers are part of the parenting territory.
Get your child involved with the cooking. I found that my son is more apt to eat something that he helped me make. So while he might say he doesn’t want pork chops and green beans for dinner, if he gets to put the green beans in the pan, season them and stir them, he wants to taste what he made.
Hide the good stuff in with other foods that your children will eat. I told you about the book Deceptively Delicious and how you create meals that the kids will love by including veggie and fruit purees in them. Is hiding veggies and fruits deceptive? Yes. But if you have a picky child you will probably agree that it is worth it if it will get him to eat it!
Do you have any suggestions for getting picky eaters to eat? I’d love to hear them!