Struggling to get your little one to eat what’s in his plate? You are definitely not alone when it comes to the battle with little picky eaters.
Most of the toddlers tend to refuse foods that they are first exposed to, and it may take anywhere from a couple to 15 tries for them to accept certain foods.
Consider some of the following tips to make your life a bit easier.
1. Do not force them to eat
Believe your child that he is able to tell when he needs to eat, and how much food he needs. Most of us think that toddlers should have the same appetite as us and hence should eat when adults do. But the truth is that they actually have their own appetite and it differs from child to child. Offering them food or forcing them to eat at the wrong time or wrong amount can put them off and ignite mealtime anxiety.
Just remember – your child will ask for food when he is hungry.
2. Plan your family mealtime
Let your child eat on the table with all of the family members as this can reduces distraction and encourage them to learn about food. Children tend to follow what their parents eat as well, so do pick up some good eating habits and show them the veggie causes no harm!
As a parent you should only buy something that you want your child to eat, and the reason behind this is simple – so that they can only choose to eat between nutritious food, or even more nutritious food.
3. The key is to find the balance
Most of the parents like you are trying their best to let their children eat as much variety of foods as they can. This is not a bad thing after all, but when your child is refusing to eat them, try to find the balance, the most important thing is to make sure that his diet includes all the food groups.
For example, try tomato if they can’t accept carrots, try beans if not chicken meat. Talk to your nutritionist, dietitian or pediatrician to find out more interchangeable food choices.
4. Just hide ‘em
If your child like absolutely nothing but pizza, for example, the last resort would be to hide the good ingredients in their slice of pizza. Make vegetable paste and hide it underneath the tomato puree, you can even mix it in the pizza base. In that way they will eat lots of veggie without even knowing.
“She used to love Broccoli, but now she doesn’t even look at it!”
You might find this odd, but it is actually normal. Food neophobia, which is the fear to accept new foods, usually starts at the age of 2 and peaks between the age of 3 to 5. Your child might stop to like something that he or she used to enjoy a lot. When this happens, try to find something else to replace the important nutrients that are missing from your child’s diet.
As long as your child is healthy and active, it is the most likely that he/she is getting enough nutrients. Talk to a nutritionist, dietitian or your pediatrician to learn more.
- Mayoclinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/childrens-health/art-20044948
- WebMD http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/picky-eater#1
- EatRight Ontario http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/articles/child-toddler-nutrition/say-goodbye-to-picky-eating!.aspx
- National Health Services, UK http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/fussy-eaters.aspx