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How to Handle Picky Eaters

 

By Martha Sanders

Don’t you find it hard to keep your sanity while trying to get picky toddlers to eat? One minute they’re starving and will eat anything you serve, the next they pick their food. So, what can you do? These “deal with picky eaters tricks always work like a charm for me and I trust you’ll find them helpful too.

 

What You Can Do to Get Picky Eaters to Eat

1. When you introduce a new unfamiliar food to your toddler’s diet, do it one at a time and in small manageable portions. Don’t expect your little one to finish an entire serving of a particular food.

Use the “one-bite rule” to get him taste the food before you remove his plate. Who knows, he may even like the food and eat the entire serving!

Alternatively, you can include at least one food you know your toddler likes, and schedule the new food when you know he’s hungry. A hungry toddler can’t afford to be picky.

 

2. If your toddler doesn’t like casseroles or foods that are mixed together, make the food separately so he has more choices. Some toddlers’ palates are more sensitive and they simply won’t like the texture, color, or taste of certain foods.

Take note of what your small child enjoys and build your menu around it. If he likes mac and cheese but not beef, then try adding a bit more ground beef to his mac and cheese.

 

3. Forcing your toddler eat something he doesn’t like or making him stay at the table till he eats his food only leads to more food battles and food aversion in future. There’s no hurry, you can always reintroduce the food a few days later.

Mealtimes should be enjoyed, relaxed and quiet. If your toddler gets distracted easily by a sibling running around nearby or a cartoon on TV across the dining room, then do something about it. An excited toddler cannot enjoy his meal in peace.

 

4. Remember your toddler’s tummy is about 5 times smaller than yours, about the size of his clenched fist. So, be realistic about how much he can manage.

On some days, he’ll be hungrier and likely to eat more than other times. On average, a toddler requires around 1000 to 1300 calories per day, and when you serve, make sure the portions are small and of toddler-size. For example, a serving of bread for a 1-year-old is only ¼ slice, and a serving of rice, potatoes, or pasta is only about 2 tablespoons, much smaller than an adult serving size.

 

5. Look at what you are offering. Are your meals the same old boring choices? If grocery budget is limited, and you can’t afford much variety, then be creative with the way you serve.

You can cut cheese sandwiches into fun shapes, use bright colored veggies to make foods look attractive, or serve food in different ways such as make “mashed potatoes” using cauliflower or broccoli instead of actual potatoes.

 

6. Take your toddler with you the next time you grocery shop or get him to help prepare meals. Young children love to be involved in making food decisions or food preparations, and more likely to accept and eat the food they picked.

You can let your toddler pick the type of fruits and vegetables to buy, and at the same time, teach him names of various fruits and vegetables. Cooking with your kid is fun and need not involve heat or sharp instruments. Just allocate simple tasks such as allowing him pop the ends off the beans.

 

7. You can serve a small dessert together with the main course on really tough days. It’s perfectly alright if your toddler down his dessert first. Dessert helps stimulate his appetite, making him more receptive to the main course later.

 

 

With these “get picky children to eat” tips in mind, you can be very sure that your fussy eater will start to love his food and eat what’s being served at the dinner table.

how to get picky eaters to eat

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