Picky eating is known to be a bit of a hot topic in the parenting world. So many things can affect a kid’s desire to eat, what they’ll eat, and how much they eat as well. And while we absolutely recommend you see your doctor if you’re concerned about your child’s growth or concerning eating habits, there are a few things we’ve learned during our experience with picky eaters that might help you, too.
Here’s some info that’s good to know—and a few things you can try.
How to Help Your Picky Eaters
Let your kids decide for themselves.
If the situation is not too dire and your kids are actually eating some foods, the Canadian Paediatric Society recommends doing nothing. Letting your kids determine how much (and even if) they will eat is best. Your job is to provide a well-rounded and balanced diet made up of wholesome foods, and your kid’s job is to determine how much of each meal they will eat. If your child is thriving, growing and gaining the appropriate amount of weight, try not to worry if they miss a few meals or don’t have a wide range of foods they’ll eat right now.
Don’t worry about being a short order cook.
When you don’t have picky eaters at home, it’s very easy to exclaim “I’m not a short order cook!” But when you do have a picky eater, fighting the battle nightly over dinner foods they don’t like can be really tough. One option is to make one dinner for the whole family—but include something that everyone will like. For example, when you make tacos, if one child doesn’t like meat, give them the shredded cheese and a soft whole wheat tortilla (or whatever component they might like). Add some veggies and hummus on the side and everyone is happy!
Keep in mind that picky eating doesn’t automatically mean eating poorly.
Even if your child won’t eat a wide range of foods right now, focus on the good foods. Do they like fruits? Can you get a few veggies in them? They may not eat all super-healthy, extremely nutrient-rich foods, but if you can focus on getting real foods into them the majority of the time, you’re doing a good job.
The best way to encourage a child to learn to like a food is to continuously offer it, even when they try to tell you they don’t like it. It can take up to 15 tries to get kids to taste (and hopefully like) a new food. It can be exhausting, but you may have better results by pairing something unfamiliar and/or unloved with something familiar and liked.
If your pediatrician thinks a vitamin is a good idea, giving one like PediaVit to your kids is a great way to ensure they’re getting Vitamin D and iron in their diet, for example. Vitamins and minerals are the building blocks of your little one’s development, aiding in everything from strong bones and teeth to a healthy immune system. And PediaVit has a wide range of vitamins to help your kids get what they need to thrive
Try not to sweat it.
This is much easier said than done. But, according to the Canadian Paediatric Society, kids experience a natural dip in appetite around age two, when growth begins to slow down. So they may start refusing to eat foods they used to like, or even seem like they’re eating a lot less. It’s likely not about being stubborn or defiant, but more about not being hungry. And, as reformed picky eaters, we’ve learned that in a lot of cases, picky eating is a phase. It just takes time and patience to get through the picky patch.
Battling over food rarely ends well, and sometimes it’s just not worth the tears. With a few of these tactics, you should be able to navigate your way to having a healthy, well-rounded eater at home. And find more great tips, tricks and advice on nutrition and more here.
This was created in partnership with PediaVit, but all the opinions are our own.
Not all products may be suited for your baby. Make sure to ask your pediatrician or your healthcare professional and always read and follow the label.
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