A true picky eater, is a child who avoids certain foods or groups of foods. It has been observed that thousands of parents struggle with picky eaters. There’s no single explanation for picky eating habits, but experts suggest a combo of genetics and environment are to blame. What should you do and when is the right time to get professional help?
Before arriving to any conclusion or looking out for management options one needs to understand the difference between a fussy eater and a child with a feeding disorder and the impact the eating behavior has on a child’s physical and mental health.
Tips To Avoid Chaos At Meatimes
One needs to understand that it’s normal for children to go through a picky stage when they’re toddlers, maybe two or three years old, and that makes sense evolutionarily. Still there are some smart tips to avoid chaos at meall time:
- Slowly introducing new foods into your child’s diet until he/she become familiar and welcomes it. Start small—one new fruit or veggie at a time—and work your way up to more adventurous things when you’re ready. Encourage your child by talking about a food’s color, shape, aroma and texture. Serve new foods along with your child’s favorite foods. Keep serving your child healthy choices until they become familiar and preferred.
- Don’t be a short-order cook
Preparing a separate meal for your child after he or she rejects the original meal might promote picky eating. Encourage your child to stay at the table for the designated mealtime — even if he or she doesn’t eat.
- Make it fun
Serve broccoli and other veggies with a favorite dip or sauce. Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters. Offer breakfast foods for dinner. Serve a variety of brightly colored foods.
- Keep meal duration reasonable.
It’s tempting to let a picky eater take as long as she wants to eat. Although you shouldn’t rush mealtime, don’t let it go on much longer than 20-30 minutes.
- Let Your baby touch his food.
You probably wouldn’t eat a food you’ve never seen before without first looking it over. Your baby is the same, so let your little one touch a new food before you offer it.
Remind yourself that you want your baby to eat for his/her own well-being, not to please you — and that baby’s rejection of a food is not a rejection of you. Be patient. As long as a child is growing and gaining weight — and you are feeding him healthy foods — there’s little need to worry about a baby who’s a picky eater.