Mealtimes with a little one can be stressful. As a parent, it’s easy to feel defeated when your child refuses most green food or other family meal.
Sometimes parents end up feeding their toddler nothing but snack foods for days, because they simply refuse to eat anything else.
Here are our top 5 ways to avoid picky eating from the start:
- Let your child discover the food before eating it
- As a child is still learning about the world and exploring new textures, a new food can be overwhelming. Always allow your child to explore the food and play with it with own hands before your expect him/her to try it.
- Get messy! Talk about the texture, smell, color, size and temperature. Let them feel free to eat the way they want as they will feel in control.
- Never force feed and allow your child to refuse some foods
- Force-feeding your child can create a negative relationship with food, even into adulthood. It may actually lead your child to eat even fewer foods.
- We want children to be able to learn how to control how much they eat and develop a healthy relationship with eating.
- Encourage your child to try new foods and let them know that they don’t have to finish it if they don’t like it. Some kids simply won’t like certain foods and that’s okay! As adults, we also have our food preferences.
- However don’t give up and keep trying. It can take up to 10-20 times for the child to like a certain food.
- Let your child be in control
- Food is personal for everyone, including children. When children feel out of control, they become behavioral and may refuse all foods, often even highly preferred ones.
- To avoid this, always give your child a few choices during mealtime. Offer carrots, cucumbers or broccoli and let your child choose. Try to always include one preferred food in those choices.
- Make food a social activity and make mealtime fun
- Mealtime can often become stressful with a heavy focus on making sure that our little ones eat a fully balanced diet.
- This puts a lot of pressure on them and makes mealtime more difficult.
- Eating should be fun! Talk about your child’s favorite play activities, ask about friends, and laugh at the table.
- Whenever possible, try to sit down at a table to have a meal with your family. Food is an important part of every culture, and it is very social. It’s important that parents be a role model about good eating patterns for their children.
- Offer a variety of foods to your child
- It is easy to get into a routine and feed your little one the same foods each week.
- Try new flavors, different recipes and new ingredients each week. It has been proven that introducing different foods at an early age prevent picky eaters in the future.
- This will help prepare your little one for a balanced diet in the future.