These days, your dinner table feels more like a craps table. You never know whether your picky little one will “like,” “really like,” or “hate” their breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Simply put, mealtime is always a gamble. And suffice it to say, you miss the moments when all your children consumed was milk—you know, the moments before solids.
The good news is that mealtime no longer has to feel like playing a game of chance. It is indeed possible to help your children to overcome their mealtime pickiness and enjoy more food than ever.
Here’s our rundown on the top feeding strategies for picky eaters.
Limit Snacks Between Meals
Sometimes children consume snacks and sugary drinks between meals, and this can lead to excess calorie consumption that destroys their appetites. Even fruit juice that seems healthy at the outset can make them feel too full at their designated mealtimes. To prevent this, try to limit your picky eater’s snacking during the day. The hungrier your child is, the more adventurous they’ll be at the dinner table.
Yes, it’s perfectly fine to cheat sometimes when feeding picky eaters. So, feel free to puree veggies like squash and green peppers and incorporate them into foods that your child loves, such as spaghetti. This is a great way to increase their nutrient intake without them even noticing a difference in taste.
Don’t Be Too Forceful
You might be tempted to force your little one to consume new foods, but don’t. Instead, introduce a new item simply by placing a small amount on their dinner plate. Let them familiarize themselves with the appearance, scent, and taste of the item. After one or more of these rounds, your child may finally be willing to give the new food item a try. The more you expose your picky eater to new foods, the greater their chances of expanding their palate.
Don’t Bend to Their Will
You may also be tempted to create a custom meal for your picky eater whenever they reject the meal you have already prepared for them. Don’t. If you offer to do this, you will only encourage this behavior. On the flip side, if they are told that what they see is what they get—and all they get—then they’ll be more likely to give your meal a try every time.
Offer Multiple Food Choices at Each Meal
One of the best ways to keep kids from pushing their plates away is to incorporate a mixture of both familiar foods and new foods in each meal. For instance, combine new foods with healthy staples, such as cheese, fruit, and bread made with whole grains. In this way, even if your little one skips over the newer items, they will still get full from eating the familiar foods you’ve offered.
Skip the Desserts
We all love desserts after meals, but as a general rule of thumb, it’s best to curb them. When you offer a dessert after each meal, your picky eater will learn to expect them, and then you’ll constantly find yourself using sweet treats as negotiating tools. Instead, reserve desserts for special occasions. They shouldn’t be a staple part of your child’s diet.
Serve Meals on Your Child’s Favorite Plate
Yet another way to satisfy your picky eater is to introduce new foods to them on a fun, child-friendly plate that will make mealtime more enjoyable. An eye-catching plate can easily woo your child to try new foods or eat more of those sliced carrots and other healthy foods you serve them.
Get Your Kids Involved in Meal Prep
Allow your child to play an instrumental role in buying and prepping your meals, as this may make even the pickiest eater more willing to try new foods. For instance, allow them to browse your local store’s produce bins right alongside you, taking in the various veggies and fruits. Then, let your mini cook chop some of the veggies [with a child-safe knife] or mix the greens together in a salad. They can enjoy the aromas and colors for themselves, rather than just hearing you insist, “It’s yummy!”. The more involved kids are in the prep work, the more excited they’ll be to eat the meals you serve them daily.
Take Your Little One’s Mealtime Up a Notch Even More with the Help of Abiie®
At Abiie®, we’re proud to be a top provider of high-quality and practical dinner table products for children, including our Beyond Junior® Y High Chair and Octopod® Grip Dishes.
Our high chair won a Gold Award from NAPPA for its award-winning EZ-Seat design, and it can easily be adjusted in less than 20 seconds at mealtimes. Parents also love our grip dishes, which feature suction cups to help them stay put on a tray table.
Have questions about how to make mealtime easier? Contact Abiie®, we’re happy to help!