There’s no denying that raising a fussy eater can undoubtedly be a challenge. However, while you might think that their habits will never change, it’s important to keep trying.
After some time, your hard work will pay off, and they will begin to enjoy all of those nutritious foods they may have once thrown off the table. That being said, if you want to speed up the process, there are a few things that you can do.
Below we are going to talk about ten tips to follow if your children are picky eaters.
Let’s get started!
Start off small.
One of the most important things to remember when you are trying to stop picking eating is that you have to start small. If you introduce a whole heap of different foods at once, they can get overwhelmed.
Remember to take things one at a time and follow up on your successes. For instance, if they have started to enjoy peas for the first time, you might try another similar green food.
Create a regular routine.
Another step you want to follow is to set a routine when eating. If you have regular meal times at the same points of the day, your child will know what to expect and can prepare themselves.
This also prevents anyone from overeating right before dinner and can ensure that your bodies are energized throughout the entire day.
As a guide, try and stick to the following depending on your schedule:
– Breakfast: Between 6:30am and 7:30am
– Morning Snack Time: Between 10:00am and 11am
– Lunch: Between 12:00pm and 1:00pm
– Afternoon Snack Time: Between 3:00pm and 4:00pm
– Dinner: Between 6:00pm and 7:00pm
Sit together for meals.
Alongside creating a regular routine for mealtimes, it’s also a good idea to try and sit together when you are eating. Small children will feel more comfortable trying new things when they are surrounded by other family members.
Eating together will also improve communication, can create meaningful bonds, and boosts mental wellbeing. With so many benefits, it’s certainly worth including it in your daily schedule.
Be a role model.
Children model their behavior on the individuals around them. If you want your child to eat healthy foods, you need to make sure that you are also making conscious decisions.
It would be best if you ate the same food and stuck to the same routine that we mentioned above. A few other advantages of role modeling include:
– Promotes self-esteem
– Develops social skills
– Teaches how to self-regulate emotions
Limit snacking and sugary drinks.
While having a few snacks throughout the day is normal for active children, you want to keep them to a minimum. Eating too much will disrupt meal times when you will be introducing new foods.
When you do offer them, try and choose options that will keep them fuller for longer. For example, you might bake using monk fruit sugar as a substitute or offer pieces of fruits and vegetables instead of store-bought products.
Involve them in the cooking process.
Food can be fun, so instead of making it a daunting time, try and get them involved in the cooking process as much as possible. By following your steps, they can establish a more positive relationship with meals.
You might even give them some control in planning for the week. Helping you with grocery shopping and looking at all of the different products can spark curiosity and encourage them to experiment with various items.
Not to mention it’s always great to have an extra set of hands in the kitchen.
Talk about healthy eating and where food comes from.
Sometimes the best way to educate your children about eating is by talking about it. It’s a good idea to teach them about where food comes from and why it’s essential for our bodies. You can do this at the dinner table or while you are cooking, as we discussed above.
If you’re looking for a more interactive approach, you might even try growing your own seasonal garden or visiting a local farm. Helping them understand this may just open their mind up to trying new options.
Make meals fun and interesting.
If your children are struggling to eat vegetables and fruits in their true form, another way to encourage them is to try and make the meals fun and interesting. For instance, you might think of cutting them into shapes, creating faces, and serving foods of different colors.
If the meal looks appealing, they are more likely to give it a go. You can find some other great ideas here if you need more inspiration.
Avoid using sweets as rewards.
You might think that giving your children a sweet after they have finished eating their dinner is an excellent way to reward them, but it’s not often a wise choice. They may become upset or irritated if dessert is skipped and will learn to regard it as something to look forward to instead of dinner.
If you do plan on offering something, think of other healthier options such as fruit or yogurt and only choose something “unhealthy” one or two nights of the week. This will act as a pleasant surprise but won’t increase their desire for chocolate.
Don’t give up.
Finally, while it may be difficult, it’s important that you don’t give up. You may want to give in at times rather than worrying about dealing with the tantrums and thrown plates. However, it’s important that you stick to it.
There certainly will be tough challenges, but by being consistent, your child/children will gradually learn to accept and try new foods. Dedication really will pay off.
And that’s it! These were ten tips that you can follow if your children are picky eaters. Remember, the key is to be patient. You may have to offer something 10 or 20 times before it will become familiar and enjoyable.