It is common today to hear parents say "My
son is a picky eater" or "getting my kids to eat vegetables is so
difficult." What most people don't realize is part of getting your
kids to eat healthy is training their taste buds.
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Training Children's Taste Buds
Training their taste buds involves more than giving them exactly
what they want every night for dinner.
It is trying new foods, often times repeatedly along with their
favorite foods. If all someone eats is sugary or processed foods
that is what their taste buds will know and always crave.
It takes kids 5-6 times of seeing and tasting something new before
kids will decide they like it. You can start making healthy choices
by replacing foods with wholesome foods. Wholesome foods are all
natural foods that your great grandparents ate. For example, not
Twinkies and chips but applesauce, whole wheat bread and the types
of food grown in a garden and on fruit trees.
Try introducing one new vegetable or fruit a day or once a week
at least to your family. Allow kids to try a bite or two. We
have a rule at our house that you are 3 so you need to take 3 bites.
Usually when they are 8-9, they don't have to be told to take a
certain amount of bites, they'll just do it. This doesn't have to be
torturous but something fun. Have them rate the food on a rating
scale or other way like thumbs up, thumbs down.
Even if your kids don't seem to be enjoying trying and tasting new
foods. Don't give up. You can also include pureed vegetables
in your cooking so they are getting the nutrition they need.
However, also include vegetables on the side so they can get use to
"seeing" their vegetables.
Little by little they will be training their taste buds to enjoy
good healthy food. Try different recipes and combinations and
get your kids in the kitchen helping. Kids can wash and scrub
vegetables, peel and toss a salad together. Older kids that can use
a knife properly can cut and prepare vegetables. Get kids involved,
knowledgeable about good foods and enjoying meal time.
These tips for picky eaters are
for you parents with kids who just don't like to eat or like to eat
the same thing everyday and never try something new. Picky eaters
can make life interesting, especially when it comes time to prepare
All children go through a phase of being picky eaters to some extent
while they are learning and growing; it is the children who continue
this phase and remain picky long term who can have dietary problems
including vitamin deficiency.
As a parent you have to make sure your child is getting enough of
the essential nutrients to remain healthy. When you have a picky
eater you have to find ways of getting those nutrients in your
child. Here are some tips for picky eaters and suggestions to help
you through this.
Picky Eaters Tips
It is important to remember that a toddler or preschooler
isn't going to eat as much as a teenager or an adult. If you
serve a large plate of food to a toddler or a preschooler they
will most likely eat what they like most and get full then stop
eating. If you want your child to get a well rounded meal with
foods from each of the groups within the food pyramid you need
to offer a small portion of food from each group to your child.
Instead of allowing the child to eat all of the fruit (or
whatever their favorite portion is) and skip the rest of the
meal, giving a little bit from each group makes your child eat a
more balanced meal. I have one child like this he would fill up
on the fruit salad and skip the rest of the meal!
Showing an example of proper eating habits is important.
Instead of commenting on foods being bad or good, you need to
show children good eating habits by example.
If your child won't try certain foods try them in different
forms. See if you can hide it in another dish. Often soups and
stews are a great place to sneak in vegetables and even meats.
If your child is picky about eating vegetables you can grate
them and add them to meatloaf or you can make a sauce and pour
them over pasta.
My favorite tips for picky eaters is to let your kids help you
cook. Pizza is a favorite of several children. Letting them make
own pizzas with healthy toppings is another way of getting
these nutritious foods into your children.
Choosing a new food item to try weekly is an excellent way to
widen the number of foods that your child will eat. Make it a
family outing to the grocery store, produce stand or farmer's
market and let your children pick something new to try this
week. Your children will learn to try new foods and you might
find a new favorite along the way.
If your child is a picky eater it is important to allow your
child a choice of healthy foods to eat daily. Don't force any or
insist on your child eating everything that is served. If your
child is eating from one food group only then cut back on
choices from that group while increasing the foods you are
allowing from other food groups.
Cut back on choices that are from non-nutritive sources. Watch
out for empty calories from foods such as diet soda, french
fries, chips, fast food, even juice, they can fill up on these
and not want the "good stuff."
Involve kids in menu planning as well as helping prepare the
meal. If they want chicken nuggets every night. Help them see we
need variety in our menu. Create a healthy meal plan with their
help. When serving the all time family favorites, try some new
things along the side, such as a salad or new vegetable.
A tip for picky eaters parents is to try not to add too much
pressure into eating healthy. If your child is getting their
recommended calories and eating nutritious foods, even if they are
the same foods everyday, then they probably are eating okay.
Continue to offer healthy and nutritious foods and as they grow
they're likely to come around.
5 Tips for Picky Eaters
Do you have meal ideas or tips for picky eaters to share?
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