As a child, I would refuse to eat veggies of any kind, along with most other things. Since one of the few things I liked was white rice, my mom would attempt to hide finely chopped veggies in it. Just as she was patting herself on the back for her ingenuity, I discovered her plot and began eating the rice grain by grain, inspecting each for any veggie specks that needed to be removed. Her plot was foiled.
While she was undoubtedly worried about my nutrition, her plan to sneak healthy foods into my diet was misguided; you can’t force a child to eat something she doesn’t want, and attempting to do so will only surround every mealtime with anxiety and worsen the problem.
Instead of battling your food-adverse child every step of the way, try these 4 expert tips for dealing with a picky eater:
- Don’t force your child to eat. She’ll eat if she’s hungry. Offer small portions, so she’s not overwhelmed and can ask for more if she wants it.
- Have your child help pick out foods at the grocery store. Allow her to choose the fruits and vegetables she’s interested in eating.
- Dips, spreads, toppings, and smoothies. Your child may enjoy dipping her celery in peanut butter, spreading cheese on a cracker, sprinkling raisins on yogurt, or slurping a fruit smoothie through a straw, allowing you to slip more nutrition into her diet.
- Don’t give-in and give them whatever they ask for. This may promote picky eating. Insisting that she stays at the table until meal time is over – whether she eats or not – will eventually make the foods you are offering more familiar and appealing (as they’ll be the only option).
It’s completely natural for toddlers to be picky eaters. But if you’re worried that your child isn’t getting the proper nutrition, keep track of what she eats over a week, and use the Vitals Doctor Finder to find a pediatrician who can best advise you on your child’s health.
Sources: mayoclinic.com and askdrsears.com