Picky eating can be a problematic food-related issue to deal with. It is typical for a child’s appetite and preferences to fluctuate. It’s essential to strike a balance between encouraging children to listen to their own body cues and explore their choices and ensuring that they are exposed to various foods and have a healthy relationship with food as they age.
It’s reasonable to be concerned about your child’s nutrition if they sometimes refuse to eat. However, it is typical for toddlers to refuse to eat or even try new foods. Don’t be concerned with what your child eats in a day or whether they eat everything at mealtimes. It’s more beneficial to consider what they eat over a week.
Children want time and space to practice sampling new foods (most foods are novel to them!). The idea is to encourage fearless culinary experimentation while avoiding power conflicts and recurring debates about meals and food.
If your child is a picky eater, it’s never too late to implement the suggestions below. Begin as soon as possible. Slowly introduce them in a comfortable way for both you and your child.
- Give your youngster the same food as the rest of the family, but don’t season it with salt.
- Copying you is the best method for your youngster to learn to eat and love new things. Try to dine with them as frequently as possible.
- Give your child tiny servings and praise them for eating, even if they only eat a little.
- If your child refuses to consume the food, do not force them to. Simply remove the food without saying anything. Even if it’s difficult, try to remain calm. Try it again another time.
- Do not wait until your youngster is too hungry or weary of eating.
- Be patient if your child is a slow eater.
- Give your youngster no more than two healthy snacks per day between meals.
- Food should not be used as a reward. Your child may regard sweets as delightful and vegetables as repulsive. Instead, take them to the park or promise to play a game with them.
- Make mealtimes more than just about eating. Sit down and talk about anything else.
- If you know any other children who are good eaters around your child’s age, invite them for lunch. But don’t go on and on about how good the other kids are.
- Invite an adult your child admires and respects to lunch with you. Without complaint, a youngster will sometimes eat for someone else, such as a grandparent.
- Changing the way you serve a dish of food may improve its appeal. Your youngster, for example, may refuse cooked carrots but enjoy raw grated carrots.
If you’re working with a picky eater, don’t be concerned if your efforts aren’t entirely successful initially. Even if your child refuses to eat anything except grapes, they will not be able to live on grapes for the rest of their life. Children have a habit of eating one food for a period and switching to another. Consider their intake over a week (or perhaps a month) rather than what they eat daily or at a single meal.
Listen to your instincts and consult your child’s doctor or a qualified nutritionist if you’re still concerned. This is especially important if your child has strong reactions to foods they don’t like or develops an aversion to cuisine they used to enjoy. If required, your pediatrician might connect you to a professional specializing in eating disorders to assist you in resolving these complex challenges.