“No!” This is the one word response for the statement; “Come on, let’s eat!” that mothers of picky eaters is most familiar with. Most of them even have their own tales of all the crazy things they have done just to get their child to eat.
Being selective about what to eat is very common among young children and a lot of parents struggle just to get their child to eat the right kinds of food. Kids usually have few “favorites” and once they have determined that, they stick with it for a while; hence, the kind and amount of nutrition that they get is quite limited which causes parents to worry and panic at times.
If you are fighting the same battle, here are some things that you can try that could help you have an edge and eventually win the food war with your child:
- Consider timing – unlike most adults who find comfort and joy in food, making them eat incessantly, children only eat when they are hungry; hence, it is important that you only feed them when they are. Remember that timing is everything; no matter how picky your child is, he or she will definitely eat something when hungry.
- Stick to a set schedule – avoid feeding your child just because you feel like it; keep in mind that children can be trained by setting a routine. Serve food at the same time every day so that your child can get used to it and in time he or she will automatically feel hungry or expected to be fed when your scheduled time for eating is near.
- Make it interesting – preparing your child’s meal can be the best time to show off your creative skills. Children are visual beings so you need to utilize this fact to your advantage. You can cut vegetables and fruits into different shapes and objects. Instead of serving plain sandwiches you can build a tower or place an umbrella on top of the bread; there is no limit to the things that you can do, just make sure that what you are going to make is something that your child loves or finds particularly interesting like cartoon characters or bright colors.
- Cheat a little – if your child does not like particular kinds of nutritious food such as carrots or green leafy vegetables, you can just chop it in tiny pieces and mix it with a home-cooked chicken nuggets or burger patty. This is a good opportunity to reveal your “chef-side” and invent different meals.
- Show examples – children like to copy other kids or their favorite character. If you want them to eat a particular kind of food, try searching for videos or pictures of other kids or cartoon characters eating the same type of food. While they are watching it, point out that the characters are healthy and strong because they are eating nutritious food.
- Have a meal plan – it might be tedious but you need to prepare a meal plan at least for a week just to ensure that you will not run out of cool and interesting ideas. You can ask the help of your child and make this a fun time for the both of you.