Dealing with a picky eater is different from most other parenting conundrums, because while you’re busy trying to make your child listen to reason, you’re also concerned that they’re not getting the nutrients that every growing person needs in their diet.
When it comes to a picky eater, you may not always be able to reason with them, but there are things you can do to convince or trick them into eating a healthy dinner.
1.Food on a stick.
If you have to use a gimmick to get your kid to eat, then by all means, use one. Food on a stick, like grilled kebabs or even fruit are just interesting enough to tempt a picky eater.
2. Nutritious macaroni and cheese.
Very few kids are immune to the deliciousness of mac and cheese, but if that’s all your picky eater wants to eat, you have to try and sneak nutrition in your recipe wherever you can. Add vegetables and protein like chicken or turkey and you’ve got a wholesome meal.
3. Homemade pizza.
You may not be able to control which foods your picky eater likes, but you can control what goes into the food they do eat. Homemade pizza with whole wheat crust and healthy veggie toppings i still a kid-pleaser, but one that’ll make you feel better too.
4. Serve new foods along with favorite foods.
Encourage your picky eater to try the new food first, and understand that you might need to introduce a new food a couple of times before your child will really be open to it. Keep on trying, though.
5. Have your child help choose what’s for dinner.
Recruit your picky eater to help you pick out groceries at the grocery store, but remember that you have the final say in what you buy and what you don’t buy. Then, ask your child what they think should be for dinner. They’ll be part of the decision-making process, and they’ll also be more likely to eat what they picked out.
6. Dessert shouldn’t be a reward.
Offering dessert as a reward for finishing their meal might reinforce your child’s belief that sweet, sugary foods are the best. Instead, have one or two nights a week when dessert is offered, and try to incorporate slightly healthier desserts like fruit or yogurt.
7. Resist the urge to make your picky eater a special meal.
Getting into the habit of making a different meal for your picky eater will only encourage the picky behavior. Keep your child at the dinner table for the whole meal, whether they choose to eat or not, and continue to serve healthy meals to the whole family until they are preferred by all. If you think refusing to eat is affecting your child’s health, talk to your pediatrician. Remember, you’re trying to promote a lifetime of healthy eating, and it might be a challenge at first, but worth it in the long run.
SOURCES: Mayo Clinic