Eating habits can be a tough topic in many households depending on what your child is interested in eating and the variety of foods they like to eat. Some kiddos eat anything and everything, some it seems only like a handful of foods, and others are right in between. Children won’t love everything they eat, but here are a few characteristics of picky eaters and signs you may want to change your approach to feeding your child:
- They only want one food.
- They prefer liquids.
- They don’t like trying new foods.
- They usually don’t finish everything on their plate.
Choosey qualities will vary from child to child, and some traits may appear stronger than others. Regardless of the degree and what picky qualities your child shows, it can be frustrating as a parent to work with a child’s limited diet and pallet.
We’ve put together a few suggestions on ways to grow your child’s palate in simple ways. Whether you incorporate them individually or try a few techniques at the same time, purposefully changing up how you approach mealtime with a picky eater may be helpful in making a difference in your child’s eating habits.
Make it fun.
There’s a reason that food at restaurants look so good, and most of it has to do with presentation. Your child’s plate does not need to be Pinterest worthy, but try making mealtime more fun with shapes or brightly colored food. Many children also enjoy dipping their food. Add a dollop of dip for your little eater to dip their fruits or veggies in. A simple way to have a pretty presentation is with a unique plate. The Innobaby Silicone Suction Divided Chicken Platter was designed to put a spin on mealtime. With colorful divided sections, it’s perfect for adding dipping sauces, and the suction bottom prevents the silicone from sliding across your table. A win-win!
Set a good example.
If you are eating a variety of foods — including some your child may be hesitant about — your picky eater is likely to try to eat a variety of foods too. Be a positive role model for your child by eating at the same time as them and having a diverse plate. Your child will probably not be jumping out of their seat just because you’re eating vegetables, but they are likely to watch what you’re eating and be more inclined to try what’s on their plate if they see it on yours.
If your child is reluctant to try new foods, try to introduce new foods in small amounts. A dollop or small spoonful of a new food gives your child the chance to try it, but shows it isn’t expected they eat a whole serving if it’s not for them. If you find them eating most of what you placed on their plate, be sure to ask them if they like the new food and offer more. During future meals, start increasing the potion you serve them and continue to observe if they eat what you provided. Starting slow and small is a great way to warm your child up to new foods.
Cut back on snacks.
One reason your child may be uninterested at mealtime is simply a lack of appetite. Watch how frequently your child requests a snack (and how often you serve one) as well as how much of a snack they eat. Snacks are great and may help your child hold off until the next meal, but if they have many snacks throughout the day or eat a heavy snack close to eating time, they may not have room for a full meal. If you find this may be the case in your house, try cutting back on snacks so your child is has a larger appetite when it comes time to eat.