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Food Picky Toddler Family Dinner

It’s too spicy! It’s too bland! I don’t like ketchup, and I’d prefer ham! Some times seems the pickiest eaters in the universe are our own kids. Those undeveloped taste buds change their minds daily, and it can be very frustrating.

It seems most kids are pickiest about new foods, but getting a kid to eat new foods doesn’t have to be a fight. There are a few tricks to eliminate the fuss of introducing new foods to a picky eater.

Peek-a-Boo I don’t see you:

I saw my sister cooking spaghetti once; she had a blender and was pureeing vegetables. Carrots, celery, onion, you name it, it was becoming goo. I naturally said, “What in God’s name are you doing?” She was blending the vegetables because her picky kids dislike chunks, and it was a good way to hide foods they’d never had before. By making them unseen the kids ate that spaghetti damn near without a fork, nutritional veggies, new foods and all. So trick number 1 to get a picky kid to eat new foods? Hide it. Later on you can slowly add chunks and let them know what their eating, and use, “You’ve been eating it all along” as a defense.

Come on over here Baby:

The second best way to get a picky kid to eat new foods, which may make a mess in the mix, is to get them involved. Research shows kids that help prepare what they eat are far more likely to eat it, whether they like the ingredients or not. Your picky kid is never too young to help either, just pick age appropriate tasks, for example younger kids could simply pick fruit at the grocery store, or wash it at home. Older picky kids could stir the soup, or crack the eggs. Another tip for picky kids is to let them make their own plate, by allowing them this independent move you make them feel as if they chose to eat whatever new thing you’re giving them, which eliminates the fight for dominance so many toddlers and kids go through.

You can also consider a home garden. Kids that grew the vegetables they’re trying to be made to eat are more likely to eat them out of pride. If you don’t have space, consider an upside down garden to double the fun and cut the space.

Let’s play a game:

I know most parents don’t have time to make every single meal time fun, but turning meal time into a game or engaging educational experience is another way to trick a picky kid to eat new foods. Even if meal time doesn’t become a game, numerous studies including, “Archives of Family Medicine” published by Harvard in 2000, families that eat together not only have more fun, but their children are less prone to obesity and eat generally healthy. Just sitting down with you child every meal time will help them eat. Explain that new foods are a learning experience, by making knowledge cool at an early age you give them a head start for the future.

Monkey see, Monkey eat:

My final tip for getting a picky kid to eat new foods is to eat it yourself and be happy about it. Even if you don’t like something, if you expect your kid to eat it, you need to eat it and not show that you don’t like it. Chances are if you take a bite of green beans, twist your face in agony and say, “ewwwww!” your picky kid is not going to pick green beans as a new addition to dinner.

Sources:

http://www.fns.usda.gov/fns/corenutritionmessages/Files/BehavioralOutcomes.pfd

http://www.mealsmatter.org/EatingForHealth/Topics/article.aspx?articleId=4