We can all agree that parenting is hard. The journey of raising a child can bring up many obstacles — one we know too well is dealing with picky eaters. Choosy children are truly a force to be reckoned with.
Whether they won’t touch anything green or never feel like eating period, it can be frustrating for you and your child once dinner time rolls around. So rather than blowing a fuse at the dinner table every day, you can help them improve their eating habits.
There are ways to nudge your child in the right direction. Understanding picky eaters and how to introduce new foods into their diet can help you expand your child’s mind to the vast and wonderful world of food!
Why Are Some Children So Picky?
Children can become picky eaters for several reasons. They may be sensitive to a particular taste, aroma, or texture. Children can learn eating habits from parents, as well. For example, if your child sees you complaining about a meal, they may learn to dislike that same food.
On the other hand, some kids have illnesses that limit their eating options. Children –– who suffer from eating disorders, diabetes, or severe allergies like celiacs –– have to avoid certain foods, in order to prevent their situation from becoming worse.
With that in mind, we want you to know that being a picky eater is not a bad thing. Since everyone (especially children) has their own tastes, it’s natural for people to be attracted to some foods and grossed out by others. In the end, what you like and dislike to eat should be no one’s concern but your own.
Dos And Don’ts When Helping Picky Eaters
When kids are young they should be introduced to a variety of foods. This opens up their mind and influences them to try new things. Keep in mind: some strategies can negatively affect your child. If you are worried about doing something wrong, we’re here to help!
Don’t: Force Them To Eat
If a child is not hungry, do not force them to eat a whole meal. Also, don’t bribe your child to eat. These methods will make kids see eating as a chore, instead of a pleasure. Not to mention, they can fill your child with anxiety and frustration. To make matters worse, they become less sensitive to hunger and fullness because they’re continuously being forced to clean their plate.
Rather than making your child eat a full meal, try serving small portions to them. This route prevents the child from overeating and allows them to ask for more if they want.
Do: Slowly Introduce New Foods
To bring healthy food into a picky eaters’ diet, you should be patient. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you to wait three to five days between each new food. Also, start with small portions. By allowing your child to get a limited taste of new food, you can see if they are allergic to or can’t tolerate it.
It will take time for the first bite to arrive. Imagine giving your child a new type of food, like a sweet potato. They will closely analyze the food by observing, smelling, and touching it. Some children may even put a tiny piece of the potato in their mouth, then take it out.
In this circumstance, you can help your child take a proper bite of the sweet potato by sitting down and talking about it with them. Don’t speak about how good the food tastes. Focus on its color, shape, aroma, and texture. Try serving the sweet potato with your child’s favorite food, as well. These techniques make the potato appear more “friendly” to the child. As a result, they’ll be willing to take that first delicious bite.
Kid-Friendly Meals For Picky Eaters
Feeding a picky child may be a trial, but small comfort foods can serve as the ideal meal for them. For some inexplicable reason, comfort foods provide a wonderful relief and security within someone. So, here are a few lunch and dinner recipes that you can serve.
If you’re having trouble finding good school lunch ideas for picky eaters, then why not try a cheese quesadilla? This food evokes vivid images of grilled cheese with its crunchy tortilla shell and hot, gooey cheese. What makes quesadillas even better is that they can be baked, rather than fried. So, naturally, the food uses less oil and is healthier than your run-of-the-mill fried quesadilla.
Not only are chicken nuggets a popular kid-approved meal, but they are the perfect family-friendly food! The crunchy breading completely compliments the soft and juicy chicken breasts. Feel free to add your child’s favorite dipping sauce to bring some extra flavor into the mix. Chicken nuggets also serve as a “gateway” to other chicken-based dishes that they may enjoy.
Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is a classic dish for dinner with picky eaters. Why? Mainly because it's simple and packed with flavor. The creamy, cheesy, and velvety nature of this meal makes it easy to eat. Plus, if your child gets tired of the old-fashioned mac and cheese recipe, you can easily add another ingredient to make the dish more refreshing. Consider adding vegetables –– such as spinach and broccoli –– or a little breadcrumbs into your child’s mac and cheese.
Helping Your Picky Little Eaters
Finding suitable lunch or dinner ideas for picky eaters can be easily accomplished by using simple ingredients. Cheese quesadilla, chicken nuggets, and mac and cheese are just some of the meals that your kid will love. Other comfort foods that they may like include vegetables, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, veggie pizza, and fruit smoothies. The options are endless, so be sure to do research and create a list of the foods that you want to introduce into your child’s diet.
Children, who are not open to eating a wide variety of foods, can be frustrating to deal with. Yet, if you’ve made it to the end of this article, then it shows you truly care about developing your child’s eating habits. Please know that you are not alone in this mission.
What About Snack Time?
At theEATBar, we understand the challenges of eating, so our snack bars are here to help! Using a meringue texture and simple flavors, we created a melt-in-your-mouth treat that’s easy to eat and a quick way to get calories. Your child will love these bars as a snack during lunch or as a boost of energy before playing with friends.
As a special treat, use the discount code BLOG15 for 15% off your next order!
If you want to know more about our meringue bars before giving them to your child, please contact us. We’re open to answering any questions you have regarding our product. Also, visit our blog for extra food and eating tips!