Parenting is challenging and when your child is a picky eater or goes through a phase of fussy eating it can turn mealtimes into a battle and stress everyone out. Here I share some top tips for dealing with a picky eater.
Picky eating can often be a phase in younger children and it can be incredibly frustrating, but staying calm and trying our some of these tips should help you get through it. Even children who have been eating and trying everything can go through stages of refusing food.
How to deal with picky eaters
I think the biggest thing to remember is that if you make sure you give the best option of the type of food, so go for brown rice, brown bread, whole milk and cheese. Children will not starve themselves and if my boys wouldn’t eat their meals then I decided that we always had cereal, bread and fruit so they could eat that as an alternative. I figured early on that if I didn’t buy junk then they didn’t get to eat it at home and my food motto would be everything in moderation. Plus if you are really concerned about their nutrition then you can always opt for a supplement such as JuicePLUS+, bot instead of food but in addition to what they are eating.
10 Tips for dealing with picky eaters
- Lead by example. Eating together as a family can make a big difference.
- Peer pressure. Encourage your child to eat with other children who eat a more varied diet.
- Stick to three main meals a day and two healthy snacks. Often picky eaters can be grazers, making sure that they have a set meal time will help ensure they are hungry at food time.
- Change the venue, if your table has become a battleground, then try eating on the floor in a picnic fashion or even a tent in the garden. Make it fun for everyone and try not to anticipate that there will be an issue – children feed off your concerns!
- Offer new foods without pressure. I have heard it said that you have to try something nine times to know whether you like it. Offer a small amount of new food at a meal time and say they only have to try one small amount and keep offering.
- Make it look interesting. I love the fun food that Grace from Eats amazing serves up and we all know that you do eat with your eyes. So make new foods look delicious.
- Encourage them to do it themselves, whether it is feeding themselves, serving, preparing or even growing the food. Get them actively involved in their meals.
- Finger food and dip is always a hit with kids. Instead of just carrot and hummus, try asparagus with dippy eggs. When children can pick up the foods it really encourages them to try.
- Serve new foods with familiar foods. Instead of a whole new meal try adding something new to a family recipe. So grate some carrots in their tomato sauce or add some chopped tomatoes to their scrambled egg.
- Try giving foods a name, such as squeaky beans. Call broccoli small trees and peas can be tiny planets.
My boys are now eleven and nearly ten and I know that fussy eating can come at any age and isn’t exclusive to toddlers. It can also be about exploring food and trends such as vegetarianism, vegan, but most of all it is about being in control of their own bodies and it will pass with time.
We recently tried to way our way through the alphabet with our a-z of ingredients and cooking with kids It was great fun and really introduced my boys to some amazing new foods.
A-Z of cooking with kids series here
- A is for Apple muffins
- B is for Banana and chocolate chip muffins
- C is for Carrot cake
- D is for Dough – Pizza recipe
- E is for Eggy bread or french toast
- F is for Flour and M&M cookies
- G is for Grape and yogurt bites
- H is for grilled halloumi and honey mustard salad
- I is for Italian – spaghetti bolognese
- J is for Jam tarts
- K is for Kiwi smoothie
- L is for Lemon Madeira cake
- M is for Mushroom Mini Pizza Bites
- N is for Nuts, Pistachio ice cream
- O is for Olive damper bread on a stick
- P is for Peppers – Chicken fajitas
- Q is for Quinoa – Apple cinnamon cake
- R is for Rice – Nasi Goreng
- S is for Spaghetti – Hairy Hotdogs
- T is for Tomato – Tomato and courgette bruschetta
- U is for Udon Noodles – Lamb Stirfry
- V is for Vegetarian – Basil and tomato baked eggs
- W is for –
- X is for Xmas – Gingerbread Trees
- Y is for Yogurt – Mini yogurt and fruit bites
- Z is for Zest – Fat Rascals
Now I know that some children are not picky eaters, they have food refusal issues and I really would recommend you seek professional help.
I would love to know your tips for dealing with picky eaters. Have your children gone through a fussy stage? Was there anything that they always refused or even off foods that they love?