While some kids develop a refined palate and enjoy eating a variety of foods, others are picky eaters and limit their intake to one or two foods. Understandably, this can be exhausting and quite worrisome for parents. A couple of tips:
- Introduce your kids to a variety of foods as early as possible. This will allow them to explore the different flavors, textures, and smells of different foods.
- Praise, praise, praise! It is so important to give your little one praise when they try new things, even if it’s just a bite or two.
- Model expected behaviors for your child. That means, if you want your child to take a bite of broccoli, you take a bite first to show them just how yummy it is.
- Don’t force it. If your child is putting up a fight, don’t force them to eat the food, as this can lead to their development of stressful associations with meal times.
- Try sprinkling some different seasonings or a little cheese or yummy sauce over the “offensive” food. The key with this is to gradually decrease the amount of seasoning/cheese/sauce over time so that your child does not always rely on these things.
- Have your child help out in the kitchen to see how different foods are prepared. This takes the mystery out of where the food came from and they may feel a sense of pride in their work, and thus eat their creation.
- Try to avoid withholding dessert or other things as a punishment for not eating certain foods. Rewards are much more powerful motivators for kids (and adults!), so focus on the positives. If your child can just take a tiny nibble of food, even if they spit it out, give them praise for trying.
If you would like to set up a consultation with Dr. Lawing to discuss your child’s picky eating habits, call (504) 289-5995.