PICKY EATERS

PICKY EATERS

Description: 

Do you have a hard time getting your child to try new foods or to eat what is good for him?

Here are some helpful hints for picky eaters. 

Most children have to learn to develop a taste for food.  Breast milk and Infant formulas are sweet because that is the taste that infants and children most like. As they grow and develop, they need to learn to adjust to foods that are tart, tangy, or sour.  They also need to develop a taste for hot or cold food, and the different food textures such a crunchy or creamy.  All this takes time.  Just like a baby begins to walk by taking tentative baby steps, we need to introduce foods slowly, giving many opportunities for the child to try new foods.  Here are some tips to help picky eaters:

 

Make meal time calm.

It is important to have a calm atmosphere when introducing new food.  If meal time becomes a battleground your child will only become more uncomfortable with food and likely become more resist to your efforts to make him eat.

 

Allow the child to become familiar with the food.

Many children need to become familiar with the food before they will attempt to eat it.   Take the child to the grocery store with you.  Let them help you pick out fruits and vegetables.  Talk about the shape of the food, the color, smell, and how the food feels (are they smooth or bumpy).  Talk about what the food will taste like. (Is it crunchy, sour, sweet?  Do you need to cook it, peel it etc.? .)

 

Let the child help with preparation.

When you are ready to introduce a new food, allow the child help you with the preparation...  (wash it, cut it up, mash it, etc.). 


Offer the food often.

 You may have to put the food on the child’s plate every day for weeks before the child will venture a taste.  Do not comment on the food, force the child to taste it, or make negative remarks if they make a face or spit it out.  Some children take longer than others to acquire a taste for a new food. Even if the child tries a small bite and says they do not like it, congratulate him for trying, and tell him that sometimes it takes more than one bite to really learn how good the food tastes.

 

Model good food habits

Children learn by copying the behavior of the adults who care for them.   Letting the child see you eating the food and enjoying it will encourage the child to try something new.  If the child sees you frequently snacking on potato chips, cookies, and pastry, it is going to be difficult for the child to accept a carrot or an apple for a snack.


 Give child choices.

At snack time have a supply of healthy snacks available:  baby carrots, apples, oranges, bananas, etc.  Children love to have choices, it gives them a feeling of control over what happens to them.

 For example:  When giving the child choices, don’t ask, “What would you like?”    Instead, say, “We have some real special treats for snack.  Would you like an apple, some strawberries, or a banana?” 

 

Talk to your child.

Learn what it is about the food the child does not like. 

For example:  some children do not like crunchy food.  If you know this about the child, try to prepare the food in a different way.  A child may not like apples but will eat applesauce.

 

Have fun with food.

For example:  Make a happy face on pancakes using bananas, blueberries, raisins etc. Say, “Oh no, don’t eat the eyes.  How is the pancake going to see?  Make a joke about each piece of fruit on the pancake.  You can do this with sandwiches, pizza, fruit, and many other foods.  “Ants on a Log” is a favorite with children.  It consists of celery stalks with peanut butter and raisin.  Children love to eat the “ants” (raisins). 

 

Don’t give up.

When you are toilet training a child it can often take many months.  There are many setbacks and frustrations.  However, to be effective you need to have patience and keep trying.  The same applies to picky eaters. 

When training a child to develop a palate that includes the taste of healthy food, you need to remember that it is part of the child’s growth and development. There may be setbacks and frustration, but with patience and perseverance you can help your child grow to love healthy food. 

 

Conclusion: 

Don’t give up.

 

When you are toilet training a child it can often take many months.  There are many setbacks and frustrations.  However, to be effective you need to have patience and keep trying.  The same applies to picky eaters. 

 

When training a child to develop a palate that includes the taste of healthy food, you need to remember that it is part of the child’s growth and development. There may be setbacks and frustration, but with patience and perseverance you can help your child grow to love healthy food.