#TWKatHome Family Fridays
How to Handle Picky Eaters
Our #TWKFamilyFridays series is where we hope to provide you with resources to both learn a little more about the world of food and its sources, and connect with one another in the process.
At about age two, children begin to develop independence and opinions about the world around them. It’s amazing to watch kids form thoughts about what they experience, but this stage also brings arguments, stubbornness and willful behavior. The last thing you want at the end of a long virtual work/school day is to battle your child’s aversion to peas touching their potatoes.
Picky eating is common and nothing to be worried about--if they’re running around and growing, they’re getting enough nutrition--but encouraging your child to eat a variety of foods will ensure healthy habits when they begin choosing their own diets. This week we’re providing some simple tips on how to handle your picky eater of any age.
More than anything, making meal time a happy experience will reinforce your child’s positive associations with food. You are the best role model when it comes to meals. If possible, serve the same meal to adults and kids alike. Some kids might need to ease into this habit, so you can also start with some common foods for everyone and a staple item that is comfortable for your kid. Try new things, comment on what you like about the color, shape and texture of the food. Slurp your spaghetti, have fun picking up foods with chopsticks and encourage your kid to enjoy themselves too.
Don't Force It
Making your child sit at the table until they’ve cleaned their plate is stressful for both you and them and can lead to negative associations with meal time. Instead, when they try a food and don’t like it, respect that today is not the day to convince them of the wonders of cauliflower. Give them a small plate on the side where they can put foods they don’t like and try again another time.
Third Time's the Charm!
Kids, like adults, are hesitant to try new things and might reject them on the first go around. But don’t give up if green beans don’t hit the mark on the first try. Wait a week or so and try again with a new recipe or way of preparing the food. It can sometimes take many attempts before your child decides something tastes good. Take advice from Arthur and give your picky eater spinach in a little bo peep pot pie.
One way to convert your picky eater is to bring them along to the grocery store or virtual shopping with you, or have them help make the grocery list. Have them choose one food they would like to try from each section: produce, meat, cheese. They will be more inclined to like something that they have chosen and it will help you begin to learn your child’s likes and dislikes.