4 ways to help your picky eater

picky eating Jun 22, 2022

Picky eaters can make for a pretty frustrating cooking and dining experience. Sometimes, it's easy to think that there's nothing you can do but resign yourself to cooking macaroni and cheese every night of your life for the next five years. But don't break out the bulk macaroni just yet: Try out these simple tips to address picky eating first.

Offer them a choice and minor control.

Children often struggle with feeling out of control, which especially applies to the food they eat. You can help picky eaters feel more in control by giving them a choice. For instance, instead of saying, "We're having carrots for dinner," offer them a choice between two sensible options: "Would you like carrots or broccoli?" This can extend to other elements of the meal at your discretion. For example, you might ask your child earlier in the day: "Do you want hamburgers or spaghetti for dinner tonight?" 

Don't reward your child with junk food or dessert.

It can be tempting to bribe a picky eater to eat something they're refusing to eat with a dessert or junk food reward in the end… but don't! This teaches a picky eater that the food they are fighting against is something to "suffer through," whereas the food they want to eat is a reward. 

Change up your meal plan as much as you can.

Picky eating often occurs when a child's desire for the same food every day is enabled. If you find yourself making chicken nuggets for your kid three nights a week while you eat a different dinner, it's time to change things up. Even just introducing one side or component that's a little different will help your child learn that means are often different.

Eat family-style.

Eating family-style and practising good overall dining habits are critical when addressing picky eating. Don't allow phones or tablets at the table, engage in conversation and enjoy a meal together as a family. This will create a less stressful environment where picky eaters may feel more comfortable trying new things.

Picky eating can be stressful. Just remember that it can get better if you employ patience and understanding as you help your picky eater overcome their stubborn taste buds. 

(Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash.)

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