Last Updated on June 15, 2023 by Marie Bautista
If you have children at home who are picky with their food, you are likely very familiar with the frustration that comes with meal times. You might have kids telling you no to try new things and then being put off older things to eat, too. Picky eating is so common with mealtimes but that doesn’t make it less stressful.
Feeding toddlers is hard but when you want to make and share a savory corn chowder recipe with the kids and they turn their noses up at it, it can feel like a punch to the gut! Parents who are managing picky eaters need more support but sometimes it’s important to remember that this is a phase, and most children do grow out of it.
The good news is that we’ve got some top tips for helping your picky eaters to start eating well and stop spitting their food out!
1. Stop putting pressure on everyone – including yourself. It’s hard not to put pressure on the kids to try one more bite or bribe them or tell them if they don’t eat, they can’t play. Instead of doing things like that, you should think about the problems that will come later in life. Your children need a healthy relationship with food and the way to cultivate that is to remove the pressure. It will feel hard not to say those kinds of things, but you need to avoid it so that you can let children come to their appetite on their own.
2. Start saying that they can eat when they’re ready. Children have an ability to recognise their own hunger and honor it. That means that if you tell them they can eat when they’re ready they won’t feel pushed to eat food. Instead, they will feel like they can eat when their stomach is ready. This will help them to develop a healthier relationship with their food.
3. Always offer fruit and veggies. Having set meal times is a good idea but when it comes to snacking, children seem to be hard to fill. Instead of having unlimited snacks, make a point of keeping a bowl of fruit and chopped veggies in the fridge ready to go. They can pick from those bowls as they get hungry, and this will help them to turn to fresh foods when hungry and not fill up on fatty food.
4. Sit down together. Serving meals at the table is a nice idea but remember that it’s not always going to go to plan. It’s absolutely fine if your kids want to ‘free range’ their eating but gentle encouragement to sit down to avoid tummy aches is a great idea! This will help to avoid choking while they eat and it’ll ensure that your kids are able to access a full meal when they’re hungry enough to do it.
Children being picky eaters can be a cause of stress to everyone in the house but these tips should help you to overcome that!