Picky eating is typical for many preschoolers. In fact, it is simply just another step in the process of growing up and becoming independent. Not to fret, if your child is healthy, full of energy and growing normally, then he or she is certainly getting the nutrients they need.
Still, getting your child to eat some foods can be a source of frustration. If food and nutrition is a sore topic, you are not alone. Many parents worry about what their children eat and won’t eat. Many also spend mealtime battling with their kids over what they eat or won’t eat.
Kid Scholars Academy, your preschool in Sugar Land, offers tips for parents of picky eaters.
Dessert is Not a Reward
Withholding dessert sends a message that this is the best type of food. It could be increasing your child’s desire for sweet foods. Either skip dessert completely or redefine dessert as fruit or other healthy choices.
Mealtime should be void of television and all electronic devices. These are just distractions that will keep your child’s mind off of what is in front of them to eat. Also, television advertising is telling your kids that sugary foods are great.
Your kids love spaghetti, so make it a little more healthy for them by adding broccoli or grated carrots to it. You can even top cereal with fresh fruit slices.
Set a Good Example
It is difficult to get your kids to eat the right foods when you are picky about some foods yourself. You need to suck it up and eat everything on your plate if you expect your children to do the same.
Make Food Fun
Make food fun by cutting vegetables into various shapes and serving them in fun containers. Make dinner fun by making pancakes every once in a while. Serve carrots or broccoli with a tasty dipping sauce that the kids enjoy.
You will notice that young children will touch and smell their food. They may even take very small bites of it and spit it back out. This is actually pretty normal behavior. Your child might need repeated exposure to a new food before they even take the first bite.
Encourage your children to talk about a food’s color, texture and flavor. Also, serve new foods right next to foods your child already likes.
Limit Exposure to Unhealthy Foods
Competing with fast food that is salty, sweet and filled with saturated fats is quite difficult. So you need to avoid going to fast food joints as much as possible. Also, minimize the amount of food in your home that requires self-control, like ice cream and other sweets for example.
Range of Options
Don’t just drop a spoonful of broccoli on their plate and force them to eat it. Children will eat more when presented with options. So instead of a big pile of carrots, give your children a small pile of corn, peas and carrots and let them choose which they like the best.
When dealing with a picky eater, remember to keep calm and try some of the evidence-based tips listed above. For more information about our preschool, call Kid Scholars Academy.