Know A Picky Eater?
Picky eaters may potentially be missing out on essential nutrients and vitamins that can help them grow strong! Find out tips on how to handle picky eaters and get them to start eating right.
Know A Picky Eater?
Children can be difficult to please when it comes to food. Some children may not very adventurous when it comes to trying new and different types of foods. Just like many adults, kids might prefer to stick to their “comfort foods” which tends to lean more towards carb and sugar rich foods which may not sufficiently deliver other important nutrients that growing children need.
What are they potentially missing out on?
It is no walk in the park for parents to manage little picky eaters. But as far as possible, parents should try to make mealtimes interesting and try to encourage their mini-me to try out different healthy foods (we are talking fruits, vegetables, protein foods e.g. tofu, fish, legumes).
An unbalanced diet can result in a lack of important nutrition essential for optimal physical and mental development. Here are some nutritious and vitamin-rich foods that children commonly shake their heads and purse their lips tightly at:
How do I handle a picky eater?
It is easy to just throw in the towel and give in to picky eaters when they constantly reject foods you are trying to get them to eat, especially when you’ve spent time slaving over the stove to cook them. Plus, most parents are concerned that their child is not eating enough, so they rather give in and let their child eat something they like than not eat at all.
We feel your struggle, so here are 6 tips for parents to help little picky eaters along…
Schedule meal and snack times
It is easy for children to overdo on snacks and then complain that they are too full to eat their lunch or dinner. Try to limit your child’s snack time and snack portions. A good snack schedule might be to keep to twice a day – one between breakfast and lunch, and one between lunch and dinner. Avoid letting your child snack just before their actual meal times to avoid disrupting their appetite for their main meal. Research shows that kids are more receptive to try something new when they have their 3 meals and one to three snacks a day at relatively consistent times1.
Serve kid-friendly portions
Getting sufficient nutrients is important, but portion control is too. When meal portions are too big, it may look intimidating to children. Try serving smaller portions upfront especially when introducing a new type of food. If your child is enjoying the food, he/she will naturally ask for another helping.
Avoid using sweets or dessert as a reward
If you often find yourself promising your child a reward with sweet treats or dessert to make them eat their meal, you need to resist that temptation. Negotiating or “bribing” children with dessert will lead them to associate dessert as a “well-deserved treat” and over time, this may increase their desire for dessert and/or other sugar-laden foods. This practice may also teach them to make deals in exchange for a reward for other things.
Instead, try offering healthier options as “dessert”, such as fruits. While phasing out the treats and substituting them with healthier options may be difficult, be firm and consistent. Eventually, your child’s hunger will serve as a motivation to eat his or her meal.
Get your child involved
Bring your children grocery shopping and ask them for their help to pick out the foods or fruits you would like them to eat. While preparing their meal, they can also help with rinsing, stirring or even setting up the table. With their involvement in the process, it may motivate them to eat what they have helped to prepare.
Set a good example
Children would mimic the behaviour of people they are close to. It is important for parents to set a good example for their children. When you eat healthy, and enjoy eating healthy, your child is likely to follow suit. Also, minimize distractions such as the T.V or iPad during mealtimes. When children spend their focus and attention watching the television or playing a game while eating, they lose interest in their food.
For children who are extremely picky, it may be hard to instil the change in their eating habit as fast as you would like. Also, parents are unable to monitor what their child eats while they’re in childcare or school. A convenient way to get nutritional support would be from supplements, as they are readily available. GNC Milestones™ range of baby and kid supplements cater to the nutritional needs of your child, which comes in liquid form, chewable tablets or gummies in case your child has difficulty swallowing. Help them grow strong and healthy with each milestone today!
1 Cicero, K., & Perez, D. (n.d.). Picky Eater Rehab: Proven Strategies For Kids Who Won't Try New Foods. Retrieved August 16, 2019, from Parents: https://www.parents.com/recipes/nutrition/what-to-say-to-a-picky-eater/