By Susanne Myers
Did your sweet little toddler, who used to eat almost anything, turn into a picky eater all of a sudden? Many kids will start to become a lot choosier about what types of foods they will eat around age three. Here are four tips to help you deal with your little picky eater.
Keep Introducing New Foods
Even if your child doesn’t seem to like the idea of trying new foods, keep preparing them and offering them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Don’t cook a meal exclusively with foods you know your picky eater will not eat, but offer one or two dishes with most meals. If you continue to prepare these foods, they eventually won’t seem quite so strange and scary to your child and he might just give them another try. And who knows, if your child tries eggplant a few times, he might just start to like it.
Be Firm, But Don’t Force It
We have a rule in our house that you have to take one bite or taste of every dish we prepare. You may want to consider introducing a similar rule in your house. If your child tastes the food and doesn’t like it, that’s ok. Don’t force him to finish that serving of green beans or broccoli. You don’t want him to associate a negative feeling with the foods he doesn’t like at the moment. Keep encouraging him to take one bite each time the food is served, and eventually he will grow to enjoy it. Be firm in enforcing the one bite rule, but don’t force your child to eat a lot of food he doesn’t want to eat.
Eat Meals Together As A Family
Are you eating at least one meal a day together as a family? Picky eating seems to have gotten much worse since our fast-paced society has gotten out of the habit of sharing meals together as a family. For your young child it is important to see you, your spouse and siblings enjoy foreign foods and things he is not enjoying right now. Seeing you eat those asparagus spears will encourage him to give them another honest try.
Make It Fun
You can spark your child’s interest in a particular food by making it fun. Stick cooked broccoli spears into a mountain of mashed potatoes to make them look like trees. Give your vegetable soup a fancy name like “Super Hero Broth” or “Witches Brew”. You can add all kinds of fruit to your child’s peanut butter bread by creating faces out of grapes or raisins, berries and apple slices. Use your imagination to create fun dishes, or let your child use his. Set out a variety of healthy foods he won’t usually touch and let him create a food collage on a plate. Before you know it he’ll be snacking on raw bell peppers and carrots, especially if you join in on the fun and start munching on the “art supplies”.
For more information about dealing with a picky eater, visit http://www.kinderinfo.com/parenting-resources/