I’m going to preface this article by telling you that your picky baby is absolutely going to be just fine, and that they are not broken. Just like you, they will have taste and texture preferences, but unlike you, babies know how to regulate their eating habits. Children will stop eating when they are full, where adults will eat what they want when they want to. A child is often labeled as picky purely because they have issues with certain textures and tastes, and I’m going to tell you that all you really need is time and patience.
From the age of six months when you begin weaning to solids, parents anticipate rather a “battle” to get their children eating good, nutritious food. Helping children through food fear and worry is only going to work if you give them a little room to explore. Yes, food wastage is a pain when you’re on a budget, but it’s in these moments you need to get savvy about leftovers! Children will be picky for some time as they learn what they like and what they don’t like, but before you pull your hair out, remember when you used to hate the idea of a south philly cheesesteak and you now love it after trying it a couple of times? Well, you need to give your kids some room to do the same. With this in mind, here are five tips to help you to get your picky children at least sniffing in the direction of new food.
- Let Them Be. Okay, helicopter mom! It’s time to stop hovering and let your child explore without an eagle eye over the proceedings. Children need some room. Don’t pay attention to the pickier behaviors, but encourage them as they try new things. Don’t give up on trying new things with them but don’t sweat it if they refuse.
- A Little Of the New Stuff. On your child’s plate, come up with a meal you know that they love. In one area of the plate put something new for them to try. Even if all they do is poke a finger into it and say no thank you, they can get used to new foods pretty quickly this way. A little bit of something new is less overwhelming, which makes them feel far more secure to try it.
- The Magic Words. It’s very tempting to beg a child to eat their meal, but you’re beyond begging at this point – plus, who wants a stressful mealtime? The magic words to use are, “you don’t have to eat it all, but a taste might be nice”. No stress, no pressure, let them explore it in their own time. You’ll be surprised!
- Improvise. Does your child love spaghetti and sauce but hate onions and garlic? Well, get all the veggies you can into the sauce and blend it down, then put the sauce through a sieve. Yes, even if it’s a thick sauce. They can get all the goodness and none of the texture that makes them gag this way!
- Get Their Help. You need to provide the recipe books, and all they have to do is search through them for appealing-looking pictures! Either way, get the kids’ help in choosing their meals. Then, get them involved in the cooking process.