Guest post by Corey Daniel, edited by Jeff Campbell
Being picky about your food is almost like human nature.
You see this at the coffee shop where everybody wants a customized cup of coffee or latte. Kids are no different in this case, and let’s face it. Kids can be VERY picky eaters.
Having a preference for certain foods isn’t bad unless the child starts demanding a lot and it becomes a burden on you.
Making a separate meal for your child each day, taking them to the restaurant of their choice only and buying the grocery items they like not only makes your job harder. But it also sends the child the (wrong) message that the world should cater to them.
If you feel that your child’s picky eating is getting out of control, fear not. Here are some of the best ways on how to overcome picky eating from your child. These tips can restore some sanity to your house and set all of you up for success.
Let’s review the . . .
7 Top Ways on How to Overcome Picky Eating from Your Child
1. One Meal for the Entire Family
If you start your child off making them something different from what the rest of your family is eating, it can be very hard to change as they get older.
Your child will come to expect a separate meal each and every meal. That creates extra work for you and sends a really bad message to your child that they can always have whatever they want.
Keeping one meal on the table let’s the child know that THIS is what’s for dinner. Introducing your child to almost everything you eat when they are young also helps them be more adventurous in their eating as they get older. This is one of the most crucial steps on how to overcome picky eating.
If you are already seeing tantrums, acting out or defiance, take a moment and review the 7 Worst Child Behaviors and Solutions to bring the peace back into your house.
2. Homemade Fast Food
If your children only eat fast food and demand to eat out every now and then, try making that type of food at home rather than taking them out all the time.
You can customize the food and make it in a much healthier way.
It will help change the unhealthy habits of your kids and they will ultimately develop the taste for homemade food. Baked french fries and chicken nuggets from the frozen section of the grocery store are inexpensive and easy to prepare. They are also much healthier than typical fried fast food.
Getting your kids to eat healthy can be a real challenge. If this sounds familiar, I highly recommend you take a moment and check out the most popular Children’s Healthy Eating Habits post on Middle Class Dad.
— Middle Class Dad (@middleclassdad1) June 30, 2018
3. The Proven Power of Getting the Kids Involved in Meal Prep
Children love to be involved in an activity.
If you want to get your child excited about eating a certain meal, ask for their help in the preparation. You can ask them to set the table or garnish the meal. While they are helping you, you can share with them the benefits of the foods they usually avoid. Make sure to have them tasting as they go and get their input.
It helps the child to understand mealtime better. Plus, they will be more excited to eat the food which they helped you prepare. This might be one of the most important steps for how to overcome picky eating.
Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon Prime. It rates 4.5 stars with almost 100 reviews. Written by a pediatrician in conjunction with a pathologist. “This book will prove an invaluable guide to restore peace to your dinner table and help you raise a healthy eater.”
4. Avoid Pressuring Your Child
The worst way to try making your children eat a meal is to beg them.
When you constantly direct your child and pay attention to them, they tend to enjoy the unnecessary attention and they begin to repeat the same habits.
In order to help kids eat properly on their own, don’t be overly attentive while they eat. Don’t fret over how much they ate. Don’t cave and make something different for them if they won’t wat what you made. Do insist they eat a certain amount of what’s on the plate before they can leave the table.
Kids will eventually come around, but it may take some time.
5. Reward Rather Than Bribing
I see many parents bribing their child to eat.
By doing so, you might be able to get some veggies or healthy food down their system. But by using bribery we are subconsciously programming them to expect that when a request is made of them.
We might take it lightly, but we are actually building a really toxic habit.
The correct way to deal with your child is to reward them after you notice improvement. The reward does not have to be super expensive. You can take them for an ice-cream or favorite trampoline park.
Appreciate them and tell them what the reward is for. It will encourage them to eat well.
6. Don’t Let Them Control What You Buy
If your child is very picky and begs you to buy a particular brand of cereal which you think is unhealthy, explain why you don’t like that item rather than buying it instantly.
Giving in to your child’s unnecessary demands will encourage that behavior in them. You are literally programming them to pester you to get what they want.
The world isn’t kind to people who think they can get what they want by throwing a fit, so this is an important lesson to learn early.
Therefore, set clear boundaries and expectations and make sure to explain the why behind your decisions.
7. Set a Meal Time Schedule
Kids crave routines.
Setting a schedule for meals and snacks helps build consistency for them and for you. Kids gradually develop the habit of eating with everyone else at set times.
Making a schedule also helps regulate the appetite of your children and they are fully prepared to eat well until the mealtime. Just make sure to not give in to whining and tantrums. Be firm, fair and consistent and you’ll ensure peace and sanity and you’ll be creating good habits and manners in your child.
Did we cover everything you wanted to know about how to overcome picky eating?
Now that you have read the tips, you can start to put them into place in your house.
We reviewed some of the best tips about how to overcome picky eating with your kids. Stop bribing and giving in to your kid and start restoring sanity around the house.
When you change the atmosphere in the house and set clear boundaries & guidelines, your kids will eventually come around and follow your lead.
Keep a positive approach and accept that your child will take some time to change. As you see improvement in your child’s eating habits, make sure to acknowledge it and know that you are on the right path.
Also, make sure that you create a joyful atmosphere at the table for the entire family to enjoy the meal.
A little healthy conversation at the table and sharing about what is new in life is a great way to improve the family bond. It also takes your mind off of your child’s eating patterns and gives them the complete autonomy to eat the way they like within the guidelines you have set.
Want more great parenting tips? Make sure to check out the 23 Qualities of a Great Father!
About the author of this post
John and Corey are a happily married couple with 2 kids.
They enjoy outdoor activities together and healthy eating. Their love for trampolines is eternal and they believe that they are both fun and a healthy exercise.
They ritually write on trampolinesco.com.
Want to write for Middle Class Dad too? Check out everything you need to know on my Guest Blog Page.
Any tips, suggestions or questions on picky eating and dealing with your kids when they don’t want to eat their food?
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