But when your child refuses to eat anything that is green, or unfamiliar, or contains tomatoes, or for whatever reason just doesn’t fit his criteria of “good,” mealtime can be very frustrating.
So what can you do?
First, you need to realize that some of the old adages you remember from your own childhood don’t encourage good eating habits. Requiring a child to eat everything on his plate can cause a child to overeat, rather than recognizing when he is full and satisfied.
Telling a child he must finish his dinner to get dessert sends the message that the main course is something simply to be endured in order to get to “the good stuff.” Recognizing healthy eating habits and modeling them in your own life is the first step to helping your child develop them!
When introducing new foods, remember that it can take a child up to a dozen tries to accept it! Don’t give up if he turns up his nose the first time you serve it; keep offering it, along with familiar foods that your child likes. If you find yourself in a rut, serving the same broccoli and apple slices day after day, challenge your child to help you pick a new fruit or vegetable to try together.
Children love being involved, so picking the food at the grocery store and helping to prepare it can go a long way when you are introducing new foods.
For kids especially, presentation matters. Many kids do not like to eat food that is touching other food. If that is a problem for your child, try using segmented plates and serving individually cooked foods instead of casseroles.
Cutting foods into fun shapes piques kids’ interest—try using cookie cutters to cut sandwiches or arranging the food in fun patterns—www.kitchenfunwithmy3sons.blogspot.com has a plethora of great ideas!
Let your child be interactive with his food. Some ideas include using toothpicks to eat finger foods or sorting food by shape, color, or size into a segmented container, like a fun-shaped silicone ice cube tray.
If all else fails, remember that picky eating is usually a phase, and as long as your child is growing and developing normally, it’s fine. After all, you were probably a picky eater as a child, too, and now you’re totally normal, right?!