Some parents are “lucky” to have kids that eat almost anything from when they were born until they are old enough to buy food on their own. But some parents—let’s just say dinners can be a battle. Kids will usually be “picky eaters” starts at after their second birthdays up until they are 7 or less (if you are lucky.) We often see parents will force their kid who are picky eaters to eat this and that but what they don’t know is the harder they force, the harder they refuse. Both of the parents and the kids should learn to compromise and it’s the parents’ duty to teach them how.
It doesn’t always have to be a meal time battle for the both of you and your kids. You just have to know how to control, the tricks, and how to slowly help “picky eaters” to get over this outrageously habit. Though, knowing what’s behind why your kid is refusing to eat helps to get over this phase. So let’s get started, shall we parents?
Know why your kids are picky eaters
It tastes bad
Don’t lie about this, but if you prefer to eat the sweeter flavoured food instead of I-can’t-explain-this-taste flavour, then why your kids should eat them? And research has found that kids have more taste buds than we adults do because we lose them as we age. So if you taste the food is too salty, your kids will taste even saltier than you. And if you hate taking the pills because it’s bitter, then your kids feel twice as you do. So offer a range of options of foods. Present different foods each time, so they will have options which to choose from and not be the picky eaters they are. So instead of raw broccoli, try stir fry them. Instead of plain broccoli, try to prepare a something they can dip into.
The food is boring
No offense, but you have to keep in mind that they are just kids and that they are “picky eaters”. Your food is not boring, but maybe to them, it’s too plain. Why not spice things up with different dish? Or you could let your kids decide what to eat or prepare once a week. So each week and that particular day, they will get excited and try to come up of different foods they want to try or for you to prepare. Try to incorporate more colours, more randomness in your daily meals and not the plain old boring ones like in the movies you are always watching. And remember, eat with your family no matter how busy you are because some of these icky eaters just want you to deal with them because some other time you are just too busy with your phones or work.
“I don’t want to eat, I’m not hungry”
What a cliché thing to say huh kids? But don’t worry parents! Use that as your weapon. They are not hungry? Serve few of the least of their favourite food to eat and their most favourite food to eat. And ask them, if they want to eat their favourite food, they will have to try their lest favourite one first. Three bites rules are the best to apply in this situation.
Make them taste the food, even if they are picky eaters
Start with a small portion
Serve at the smallest amount of new food so they will not coward away or quiver from the food because it’s too foreign or it’s too orange for them. Control yourself from forcing them to try the food, even it’s the smallest portion. When it’s too small, they will try to taste it because it’s weird, how could food be this small? And each time they tried, praise them with their favourite food. The next day and the following day, decrease the amount of their favourite food and increase the amount of the new foods. In no time, they will ask for more.
Don’t change the food
Stick with the routine! Don’t always change. If we have to adapt to something for a certain period of time, then your kids have to go through the same thing too. So be patient and stick with the same food. If you want to introduce different foods each time, try offering them as snacks.
Reduce the intake of snacks
You’ve heard them say “I’m not hungry” all the time and you may think they are lying, but they are not—well not most of the time. If you keep on offering snacks and give them snacks, they won’t be able to eat during lunch, or dinner or even supper. So cut backs the intake of snacks and drinks, especially before dinner.
This is common for families these days. Their dining room is can hear the TV running or the dining table is close to the TV. Turn off the TV and all the other gadgets—including your phones, parents. Hands off the phone. This is to help them concentrate to eat. TV commercials will only make them the picky eaters that they are to eat more sugary and less healthy foods.
Don’t worry, picky eaters will usually get over this phase when they are 8 or 9 and they will often eat everything and anything. Try to be more creative when preparing food for the whole family so everyone can enjoy. If you only set a specific dish for your picky eaters kids, they will feel left out and forced. So be a good example and eat with the whole family. Remember, your kids won’t change overnight even with these tricks. Be patient. If you are worried this habit and phase will affect your child’s growth, consult with your doctor and they will help you.