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8 Tips to Handle a Picky Eater

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Does your son insist on cheese sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Does your daughter turn up her nose at everything other than rice and butter?

Does your toddler avoid greens, no matter how you try and conceal it?

Mums, if you have a picky eater, you are not alone.

At some time or the other, especially in the early years, we all face our children’s stubborn refusal to eat greens or try something new. We want to make sure our kids get the right nutrition they need to support the development in their body and mind. So, when faced with a picky eater, mealtimes tend to become a struggle.

The good news is – our child is perfectly normal and could just be going through a phase. Picky eating is our child’s way of showing their independence, and if we resist getting flustered and making mealtimes a battle, this phase too shall pass.

Here are 8 tips on how to deal with picky eaters and help them try new foods:

  • 1. We could start with a small taste at first. Eventually their taste buds will get used to the new food and they will learn to enjoy it.
  • 2. We need to model healthy eating. Show our child that we are eating a variety of different foods and soon he will want to try for himself.
  • 3. Offer only one new food at a time and serve it with something you know your child likes.
  • 4. Offer new foods first, at the beginning of a meal, when your child is still hungry.
  • 5. Always have fresh fruits and vegetables washed, cut and ready to serve in the refrigerator, and give it to our child as snacks.
  • 6. Involve our child in doing the groceries and in preparing the meal. They are more likely to eat something they helped prepare.
  • 7. Try different preparations to get our child to eat the food. For e.g. if you want to give your child meat, try mixing it with other food that he likes. For example, mix it with mashed potato, pasta, squash/zucchini, shish barak or rice and yogurt.
  • 8. Resist the urge to bribe kids with sweets or replace the main meal with unhealthy snacks if they refuse to eat. A better option is to refrain from giving your child anything to eat until he is hungry. Then offer him a main dish of meat or chicken or a favourite side dish, like rice or yogurt.

Mums, we know that it’s not easy dealing with a picky eater. But with patience, persistence and just a little creativity, we can ensure that our little ones learn to enjoy all kinds of food.

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