How to be Patient with Picky Eaters(even when they don’t eat)
Yes, dealing with picky eaters is totally frustrating! Get these 5 tips to keep your patience and what you can do
Fussy eaters can miss out on a lot of good food! Not only can it be challenging cooking for kids who refuse to eat some foods, & stick to their favorites, but they can also miss out on important nutrients found in foods often on the I-Don’t-Eat list like green vegetables, salads, fruit, poultry and fish, beans, legumes, and nuts, low-fat dairy or whole grains.
So, why kids don’t eat anything new happily. There could many reasons why kids won’t eat. The few reasons are:
You are putting up too much pressure
Children who are in their picky eating phase, pressuring them may shut down their appetite.
Your child has food allergies
Food allergies can get children push not to only get enough nutrition but they also make children bored with their diet. Nearly 30% of kids face food allergies and it increases their risks for poor nutrition & low body weight.
Your child is texture sensitive
Texture sensitive kids don’t like mushy foods, or wet or slippery foods and as such they might avoid them.
So, as a nutrition & a feeding expert, I had worked with many families dealing with picky eaters, watched friends with their kids & and I have evolved a set of five strategies for raising a happy eater, that works with love & only love at the table.
The following tips will help nourish your family with healthful foods and help return some harmony to mealtime.
Take a Long-Term View
Feeding, carried out thousands of times in the course of childhood, is often laden with emotions and failures. But there is a way to make feeding easier, more rewarding and effective – and it all start having a along term view, where:
Short term view(No real strategy) is focused on what to feed. Getting kids healthy today. Parents are frustrated, they either push too hard or give up. Children associate food with negative feelings or rewards.
Long Term Strategy(fearless feeding strategy)is focused on what, how and why to feed. Parents teach kids how to eat healthy for lifetime. Parents are fearless and able to maintain a positive eating atmosphere at meal times. Children enjoy food and come to the table most of the time.
We understand that it takes kids years to master reading and writing, & that all children learn at different rates. Even when our kids may be slower learners, we still feel confident and they will eventually get it. We need to have this same attitude about eating. Patience will help to keep the pressure off from everyone & your child will show up the positive relationship with food.
No Short-Order Cooking
Plan meals to include at least one thing that everyone likes (even if it’s the staple beans for the vegetarian or the dessert of fruit). Then serve one meal for everyone in the family; no exceptions. The alternative habit of preparing different foods for everyone is exhausting and it can take much longer for children to learn to like new foods.
Remember It Takes Minimum 15- 20 Tries to Accept Something for a picky eater
It’s a normal behavior for children to be cautious of new things – including food. Research has shown it sometimes takes 15-20 tries for a child to decide they like a new food. So keep serving broccoli – and even allow a child to touch it or play with it to learn about how it might feel in their mouth. Always ask that they take one bite. No, iam not saying to pressurize.
No Pressure To Clean The Plate
Help kids focus on eating until they are full rather than finishing every last bite on their plate. Sometimes adults forget that small children have small bellies; a good rule to remember is: 1 tablespoon of food per age of the child for each dish (about 2 or 3 dishes). So a 3-year-old child should receive 3 tablespoons each of veggies, noodles and chicken.
Shop & Cook with the Picky Kids
Kids are more likely to taste a dish if they help in planning or prepare it. Letting kids choose veggies in the supermarket produce section or even in the frozen food, this will certainly empower them. Involve them with age-appropriate tasks such as in stirring, chopping or measuring ingredients; this will allow them to contribute to a project in which they are proud to share and eat! This technique works with picky adults/teens too: Asking them to help with the shopping and cooking gives them investment in the final product and greater curiosity to try it.
Serve Nourishing Snacks to picky kids
One of the very best ways to get kids (and adults) accustomed to eating fruits and veggies is to serve them when they are really hungry at snack time. Veggies and fruits are a simple way to nourish children for play or homework – but not overfill their bellies so they aren’t hungry for a wholesome dinner. Serving salty chips, cookies or even sugary granola bars and artificially-flavored gummy ‘fruit’ snacks can be a quick option, but not the healthiest solution. Also serve snacks when kids are hungry, but not too close to meal time.
I would love to hear from you how you practice patience when your child doesn’t eat. You will loose your cool at times , but don’t give up, go back and practice the above strategies. Iam here to applaud your achievements.
Also good read for you :