Do you have Picky Eaters? My boys were so easy; I could open just about anything, place it in front of them and they would eat it. No fuss. I was spoiled! Then Miss Jade arrived. From day one she has been the queen of picky eaters. She has issues with textures. Nursing was a challenge and she refused formula for a long time too. And the challenges only got worse as she began to eat solid food. Foods that were golden and known for being the perfect toddler food; she absolutely refused. It has been such a long road these last four years to find foods that Miss Jade will eat. And your choices of food are constantly changing. So when it comes to introducing new foods to picky eaters, boy do we have experience. These are the top tips that work the best in our home. I hope they will help you with your picky eaters.
Tips for Introducing New Foods to a picky eater
- Always offer, even if they’ve refused it multiple times- you never know when they might actually try it and like it!
- Don’t force if they still refuse.
- Offer the choice to just take one bite and not be required to finish. We’ve done this with Miss Jade. We say, “Just take one bite and if you don’t like it; you don’t have to finish.” Sometimes she will take one bite and realize she does like it.
- Give Choices. Let your child help pick out the foods you will be serving. They are much more likely to eat the food if they had a hand in picking it out. But give them specific choices, not an open ended “What do you want?” as that will lead to possible unacceptable choices such as “candy, ice cream or chocolate”. You definitely don’t want to face that battle. Perhaps say, “Do you want carrots, peas or salad for with dinner?” or “Would you like an apple or grapes for your snack?”
- Be an example. If you don’t eat the food and show your child that you like it; there is no way they will try it.
- Be Sneaky. Try hiding vegetables into dishes the child does like. We often hide spinach in fruit smoothies, or puree cooked vegetables into spaghetti sauce.
- Try a new environment to introduce a new food. Often times if the environment is changed up; they are more willing to try something new. Use this opportunity to add in a new food and use tips #1-3 to see if your child will try something new.
Other important things you need to keep in mind when trying to feed picky eaters.
Check the environment– make sure you are all sitting in the right environment. Mealtime at a table will have a better influence than sitting in front of the TV. Encourage your entire family to be sitting together, and don’t allow toys or electronics at the table.
Don’t reward with Dessert- when you are working on negotiating and encouraging your child to eat healthy foods; don’t bribe or reward with a dessert as it sends the wrong message; and trains your child that food is a reward/punishment method which opens an entirely new can of worms.
Make the food Toddler enticing– what an adult thinks looks appetizing and what a toddler thinks looks appetizing are different. For a toddler try making the food look fun. Arrange the food into shapes or a smiley face. They will feel like they are having playtime; while they are eating.
It’s OK to use their fingers– While ideally we want to teach our kids good table manners; if you are struggling with a picky eater you need to remember it is OK for them to use their fingers. Sometimes the picky nature is due to a sensory issue. Using their fingers can help them overcome this.
Approach mealtime with a hungry toddler. Limit the drinks and snacks before mealtime. This means not giving into their tantrums, and trying to help them understand that food will be served soon. Keep them busy and entertained to help pass that last hour until meal time. Then when they come to the table hungry; they are more likely to try the foods that are being served.
Start off with a healthy breakfast! When you start the day off right; the rest of the day with meal choices goes a lot smoother. This is also a great time to let your little one pick out their favorite Kellogg’s cereal to jump start their morning. They feel like they are in charge of their food choices; and you can be happy to know they are actually eating a meal with the rest of the family!
Don’t become a short order cook! My kids hear me say this all the time “I’m not a short order cook!” when you give in and cook a different food for each picky eater it sets you up for a long struggle. It teaches them they don’t have to try the new foods. And that you will always cater to them. It gives you a lot of extra work and doesn’t help them to learn to try and enjoy other foods. Offer the same foods to the entire family; just ensure that at least one item at the table is something the picky eater likes. Often times this means we will have rolls with our pasta dinner. With baby carrots, salad and cheese. The husband and I enjoy the pasta and salad. The boys enjoy the pasta with baby carrots. Miss Jade; being the pickiest eater in the house, eats the roll, string cheese and a few baby carrots after she tries one bite and yet again refuses to eat pasta. But I still only created one meal.
Be sure to visit Kelloggs.com/GreatStartsTips to view more Tips and read more from Team Kellogg’s on how you can introduce new foods to your picky eaters!
What are your best tips to feed picky eaters?
How do you introduce new foods to your picky eaters?
Kellogg’s® believes that From Great Starts Come Great Things®. So we’re helping Moms start every day with a tip from the top athletes of Team Kellogg’s™ and Team USA dietitians. The thirty days leading up to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will each feature fun pieces of advice to help families fuel just like the athletes of Team Kellogg’s. To see all 30 tips, visit Kelloggs.com/GreatStartsTips
Compensation was provided by Kellogg’s via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Kellogg’s.