Parents have a lot on their plates, including monitoring what’s on their kid’s plates. If you have a picky eater in the family, even the simplest meals can become a chore. More importantly, picky eating can make it hard for your child to get the nutrients they need out of their diet. How can you expand your kid’s horizons while promoting a healthy relationship with food? Start with these tried-and-true tips for parents of picky eaters.
Keep Food Neutral
It’s tempting to tell your kids that they can have dessert if they eat all their vegetables. However, food should never be a bribe or a reward. It also shouldn’t become a punishment. Using food as a reward or punishment creates positive or negative connotations with that type of food, both of which can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food as your child grows older.
Do your best to keep food neutral. If a certain food isn’t working, don’t punish your child for not eating. Instead, try switching your preparation style or serving smaller portions.
Make Meals a Family Experience
Sometimes the best tried-and-true tip for parents of picky eaters is to focus less on food and more on the experience around it. When you eat meals together as a family, your child can focus less on what’s on their plate and more on what’s going on around them. Prioritize family meals by turning off the television, sitting around the table together, and letting everyone join the conversation.
Make Healthy Eating Fun
Parents know nutrition is important, but kids couldn’t care less. If you want your picky eater to eat more organic produce, whole grains, and other healthy options, don’t make nutrition the center of your attention. Instead, look for creative ways to serve organic foods to your child. Play with flavors and texture to make unwanted foods more desirable. You can also have fun with how you prepare and serve different foods to make snacks or meals more exciting.
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