My 3 sons are all pretty easy going when it comes to eating food, but this wasn’t always the case. My oldest son, now almost 14, used to try throwing some pretty good tantrums when he was coming out of his toddler years. My sister-in-law is now going through similar challenges with her daughter so she and I have been doing research on current suggestions for defeating picking eating. Here are 7 great ideas for ending picky eating.
1. Menu Plan Together
One of the easiest things I did with my own son during his picky-eater days was to let him help plan our menus. And by help I mean that I gave him options and he chose which ones he was okay with. Don’t give children too much freedom in selecting the menu! Instead, come up with some meals that are mom-approved and then let your child help select items that will make the meal kid-approved as well. It’s all in giving them a sense of control in the matter! Super Healthy Kids is one of my favorite websites for finding healthy meal options that my sons have almost always loved.
2. Cook Together
You’ve already planned the menus together, but don’t stop there! Actually cook and prepare the meal together. Children love helping Mom and Dad out in the kitchen! Take advantage of the fun time together to sample the foods, being sure to let your child see how much you enjoy the new items. My son was SO much more willing to eat something new in a fun, casual setting as opposed to when we weren’t sitting down formally at a meal.
3. Monkey See, Monkey Do
We’ve all heard from one source or another how parents often forget just how closely our children are watching us. If your children hear you or your spouse being picky about food, they’ll be more likely to pick the bad habit up as well. Even if you’re a picky eater yourself, be a model of enjoying the foods you do like while keeping negativity away from food and meal time. Most especially don’t put down foods that are new or unfamiliar to you. To young children, MANY foods are new and unfamiliar!
4. Small Portions
Start with small portions when it comes to serving new foods. Children are more likely to test out a new food if it’s sample size rather than a larger portion.
5. Utilize Their Favorites
Introduce new foods by including them in you child’s favorite meal. Homemade pizza was my best friend when I was helping my son get over his picky eating days. Here’s a tasty recipe for home made broccoli pizza. Substitute the broccoli for other ingredients as your child’s tastes expand.
6. Presentation, Presentation, Presentation!
We eat with our eyes before we eat with our mouths! Put a little extra effort into making new or hated foods more eye-catching and suddenly they start to become more enticing.
7. Hunger Games
While I won’t suggest torturing your child, I do think parents give up too easily when it comes to sticking it out during a tantrum. Hold your ground and let your child’s hunger win out in the end. It’s important to teach your child that crying and pouting are not ways to get what they want.