Whether it's an unfamiliar texture, the unsettling taste, or just the look of the food, one of the most difficult battles most parents have to face during dinner time is a picky eater. There seems to always be something wrong with the plate when our little ones are the critics.
Yet, we all know that the classics (mac n’ cheese and chicken tenders) aren’t doing the job of providing a nutritious and well-balanced diet. So what can we do?
1. Create Independence
If you have hopes of ever getting broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, etc. on the plate then your new life goal needs to be creating an ‘independent eater.’
Allow your child to create independence when it comes to food!
Tricks, rewards, and punishments when it comes to food are not going to help the situation. You aren’t encouraging an independent eater. Instead, doing these things might even associate anxieties or bad habits with eating which is the main thing we want to avoid.
2. Acknowledge and respect your child's diet or lack thereof
Forcing meals onto your child is not going to help them overcome picky eating habits. Let them be in control of when they are hungry for a snack. By doing this we encourage our kids to advocate for themselves when they are hungry and when they are full.
3. Remove distractions and help create a pleasant atmosphere
Try to avoid having your kids eat in front of the TV or during activity to promote a happy meal time. When there isn’t pressure or expectations in place, meals can be an enjoyable time of the day. Children are more likely to have a better mealtime when the environment is positive and conducive.
4. Eat as a family
Role models play a significant role in the shaping and developmental years of children. Seeing a parent, friend, or older sibling eating what's on their plate will give your child that boost of confidence and curiosity to also give it a try.
5. Encourage your child to at least try
The best way to introduce unfamiliar or unpopular foods is to encourage your child to try everything at least once. They are allowed to spit it out, hate it, or even be in a bad mood afterwards. Nevertheless, trying new foods at least once will create a positive habit and motivate your picky eater to give everything a shot.
Lastly, if you are truly struggling with getting healthier ingredients onto your child's plate, look into snacks that provide more nutritional value with less sugar and kid-friendly flavors. One of our main goals here at Zeek Bar is to help those parents that are looking for a better snack bar for their kids.
Don't forget! Picky eating is entirely normal and there is no easy or quick solution. If you have various concerns about your child's diet or growth, please consult a child’s pediatrician.