We all have that one child, sometimes more than, who is a stubborn picky eater. This child will not put anything in his or her mouth if they decided not to. And there is no way around this, once they make up their minds we, as mums, feel that we hit a dead end. To help you with this, we put on our thinking caps and started looking for ideas for picky eaters.
But before we dig into those ideas, we will answer some of the most common questions on picky eaters.
Why some children are picky eaters?
First of all, know that you are not alone. Almost every mum complained once about having a child that is a picky eater. Which makes preparing food a nightmare for mums. Especially when they don’t know how to handle their little picky eaters. But that is why we are here, to help you figure this out!
Believe it or not, some kids are picky eaters simply because they take after their parents. If you or your spouse are picky eaters, then your child is most likely to be one too. In other cases, children are picky eaters because of many other reasons. For instance, they might associate food with getting sick. Like they won’t eat broccoli because they believe it will make them throw up. In addition, peer pressure plays a big role when it comes to children deciding what foods they won’t eat.
Overall, some kids are picky eaters simply because they don’t like the smell, taste, or looks of certain foods. Therefore, they completely refuse to try it.
Are picky eaters similar to fussy eaters? Click here to know the answer.
Do picky eaters change or simply stop being so?
If you have a child who is a picky eater, then it means he or she will completely refuse trying new foods. We like to believe that the reason behind it is their personalities as kids. But as they grow up, their tendencies to try out new foods will probably increase. Of course, they might still refuse certain foods simply because they do – there is no riddle behind it. So, there is hope that they might change, and there are a few tricks you can pull up to help them too.
Is there something I can do to help my child?
Yes, there is. In fact, you play a huge role in helping your child take up healthy eating habits. Here are a few things you can do to help them out.
1| Move around before meal time.
Help your child get some physical activity before meal time. This will help your child get hungry, thus eating whatever is on his or her plate.
2| Control their snacks.
Most kids like their snacks better than their meals. It is probably because snacks are sweeter or more fun looking. Controlling your child’s snacks help them eat better at dinner or lunch. Make sure to avoid giving them snacks right before meal time. Otherwise, they will not eat dinner. In addition, always go for snacks that are healthy and nutritious.
3| Don’t let yourself be manipulated.
Some kids are just so smart. They refuse eating their dinner, and play on their parents emotions to get to eat something else. This something else is probably sweets, candy, or ice cream. Instead, use your child’s favorite foods to get them to eat their dinner. For example, tell them that if they finish their plate, you will get them some ice cream. This trick works like magic every time.
4| Get your child involved.
For some kids, getting involved in preparing a meal makes them more excited to try it. Being a part of making dinner makes them feel more into eating with the family. Give your child chores like setting the table, squeezing lemons, or chopping vegetables with an easy gadget to avoid accidents.
5| Avoid distractions
Your child might be refusing to eat because dessert is right in front of him. So he would rather have dessert instead of vegetables. Therefore, don’t put anything on the table, or on their plates, that might distract them from the mail meal.
Great meal ideas for picky eaters:
Pancakes with a surprise
Even picky eaters love pancakes. What we recommend is hiding little fruits within each pancake. You can do that with bananas, apple sauce, blueberries, or strawberries. In addition, you can make pancakes a healthier meal by making it with oats rather than flour. This will make them eat a healthy and nutritious meal without complaining.
If your child refuses to eat apples, then try doing something different with them. You can either make this at home, or buy it. Either way your child will be getting the nutrients they need.
Shredded chicken sandwich
Most mums like serving their kids shredded chicken rather than cut into cubes. The reason behind this is that it is easier to eat. Some picky eaters hate chewing on chicken, and this is a great way to mix all flavors to make them like this meal. Grab your child’s favorite choice of bread. Cook some chicken breasts, shred them and mix them with yummy veggies and sauces. Stuff the bread and add in some cheese. This meal is a great idea for picky eaters. Serve it with healthy fries made in the air fryer and make it look like a fast food meal.
Toddlers also love Healthy chicken meatballs, learn the recipe here.
Let’s face it, picky eaters rarely refuse fast foods. That is why we thought about making their favorite fast foods, like nuggets, at home. You can get organic frozen nuggets and throw them in the air fryer whenever you want. Or you can make them at home from scratch, they are very easy too! Get some chicken tenders, cut them as your child likes. And coat them with breadcrumbs. You can make a batch and freeze it for later use. In addition, you can make your kids veggie nuggets to help them eat their vegetables.
Learn more homemade recipes for babies here.
Anything granola is way better than candies, cookies, or chocolate. You can buy them and use them as a quick snack between meals. Or you can make them at home with your child. Making granola bars at home is very easy. All you need is oats, peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, dark chocolate or raisins. Mix them all together, and shape them into whatever you like. This is a fun activity to do with your kids.
Check out more healthy snacks here!
As adults, we adore pumpkin. Whether in a yummy pie with whipped cream, or in a delicious autumn latte. Another way to serve pumpkin is to turn it into waffles. In fact, adding vegetables in desserts is one of the best ways to make your child, unknowingly, eat them.
This is also a fun thing to do with the kids. Get a pumpkin, carve it together and prepare the pumpkin puree. Then, mix the pumpkin puree with flour, eggs, and milk. Add some vanilla, sugar, all pumpkin spice, and some baking powder. Let the mixture set for 10 minutes, then heat up your waffle machine and make those yummy waffles. Serve them with organic syrup and watch your kids enjoy them!
There are so many ideas for picky eaters. But the best idea ever is to be patient. This is how you can help your little picky eater grow out of this phase.