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Being the parent of a picky eater can be extremely frustrating.
Kids eat what they want, when they want and there is only so much pizza, chicken nuggets, and french fries you can give them. Right?
Here is how to stop picky eating in its tracks.
1) Give the façade of “options”
Kids love being able to pick what they want to eat. If it was up to them candy would be the perfect breakfast. Pick a few meal items that YOU would like them to eat and let them choose the one(s) they want.
In the morning I let my daughter pick which fruit she wants with her other breakfast items. Sometimes she has me open the fridge and points to what she’s in the mood for.
2) Make food fun
Use food cutters such as these to cut out cute animal face shapes or spread the food out to resemble something such as a castle, silly face, or other shapes.
Kids love dunking food. Think celery and peanut butter, carrots and dip, potatoes and ketchup, etc.
When I make pancakes I make them mini, shaped like Mickey Mouse, and all other crazy shapes using a squeeze bottle.
We also make our own heart shaped pizza.
3) Use little containers
Put finger food into small containers or into a muffin tin and watch what happens.
My daughter just started camp and I send her with a few small containers (make sure they can open them), each containing a different snack item. From fruit, to pretzels, to crackers, and cheese cubes. Each day she eats a few out of each and some days she eats them all.
4) Let your kids get involved with the meal preparation and making process
It can be very difficult to get a child to eat their vegetables. Surprisingly, when my daughter helped me pick and prepare beans from the garden she started eating them. She now takes snow peas to camp and eats them by the handful.
If you don’t have a garden, allow your kid to assist in preparing their meals. Let them pick out ingredients at the supermarket, wash the ingredients, stir the food, and help with assembly.
I like to make personal mini pizzas so they can choose their toppings and sprinkle on the cheese. Recipes such as peanut butter and jelly roll-ups and food on a stick (fruit, cheese) are also fun to make.
I made a delicious zucchini bread recipe, which my daughter helped me make it. She couldn’t wait for it to come out of the oven to try what she helped create.
5) Make them try one bite
I read that it can take anywhere from 10 to 20 times for a child to try a new food. Try to get them to take at least one bite. I tell my daughter just try the food and if she doesn’t like it it’s okay to spit it out.
Sometimes different ways of preparing a food can make them more willing to try the food. At a very young age my daughter liked mushrooms, but only how my husband made them. He would sauté them in lots of butter and a little salt. When I made them she never liked them.
Your child won’t be a picky eater forever. Make sure you expose them to new foods so that they can become familiar foods, even if they don’t like them just yet.
Make food fun, visually appealing, and easy to eat.
Do you have any helpful tips on how to get a picky eater to eat? Share in the comments.