5 Tips For Parents Of Picky Eaters

Tips on how to manage a picky eater and encouraging healthy habits

picky eaters

Does your child comes home from daycare or school with a full lunchbox of untouched food? Does your child eat lunch for your nanny, but not for you?

If your child's eating habits are a sore topic in your household, you are not alone! Many children are picky eaters. There are many reasons for children's eating habits, such as taste and texture preferences, being afraid to try new foods or simply not being hungry.

Regardless of the reason, picky eating can be very frustrating for parents. 

5 Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters:

Leave the food on the plate

If your child starts saying no to a particular food as soon as he sees you put it on his plate, make a rule that he has to leave the food on his plate, even if he does not want to eat it. Then begin an activity he enjoys, such as reading a book or put other foods he enjoys more on the plate as well. Once he is engaged, there is a better likelihood that he will go back and eat the item he said he did not want at the beginning of the meal.

Take 1 bite for taste

Many parents use the rule that their child must take one bite. It is important not to create a power struggle with your child over food, so another method is to make a rule where everyone in your family has to taste every item on their plate. Kids only have to taste the item and then can decide whether or not to eat the rest of the item.

If everyone in the family engages in this practice, it becomes a family routine. This gives your child the power to decide if he or she likes the food.

Eat with your child

Children want to do what adults are doing. Eating meals as a family and sharing food will encourage your child to try new things.

If your child sees you trying a bite of an item she perceives as scary, she may gain the courage to try it herself. Model good eating habits for your children.

Take kids out to dinner

Parents are sometimes surprised when their picky eater tries a new food in a restaurant. Changing the environment and allowing your child to feel like a grown up might entice them to try something new. Children may want to eat what is on your plate or their sibling's plate so encourage sharing food in restaurants. Kids also may be more open to trying something new because they are more distracted in a restaurant.

Stop the snacks

Providing your child with lots of snacks or juice will not help a picky eater; it will only make them less hungry at meal time. Giving snacks might feel like the easier solution in the moment, but snacks should be given at the same time everyday and not be a meal replacement - unless you are in a public setting and you really need your kid to behave. Save the extra snacks for emergency situations.

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