There is so much overwhelming information for parents with peaky eaters. Some experts suggest the fussy eating could be due to a disorder, while others blame it on helicopter parents. Whatever the underlying cause might be, all parents want their kids to eat healthy and nutritious food so that they can keep disease at bay.
The most common solution that parents with picky eaters use is to bribe their kids. For instance, they reward the child with a snack they want if they consume what is served on the plate. The problem with this strategy is that it motivates the kids to continue being picky eaters.
Recent research shows that parents who forced their kids to eat certain meals and even withheld the ones they wanted to increase their chance of becoming picky eaters. On the other hand, guardians that imposed fewer food restrictions and even gave the child some control over what they could eat made them less fussy eaters.
This post will cover tips and strategies that parents can use to make a picky eater consume more healthy meals.
Understand the Science of Taste
The biology behind taste preferences shows that the early taste experiences, including for a fetus and through breast milk, can shape the taste preference of a child. In addition, a child is more likely to prefer the flavors they encountered in breast milk and amniotic fluids.
This goes to show that a parent’s eating habits largely influence what the child prefers. The trick in such a situation is to give them meals that you also love eating. Avoid hard-to-digest meals or those high in fiber as a child’s digestive system can’t extract maximum energy from such foods.
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Make the Food Enticing
Did you know that a kid is more likely to eat meals that they have seen in colorful picture books? This is because it familiarizes them with the new food, and since it’s presented enticingly, they are motivated to try it out.
Cut fruits and vegetables into manageable child-size pieces and out each food group into a cute plate with compartments. Arranging meals in a rainbow design is another way to motivate picky eaters to consume healthy or new types of foods.
Give Kids Control
A child is more likely to eat meals that they have chosen or asked for. The trick to making picky eaters love food is to give them control when it comes to the meals they can eat. For instance, you can make it a game. Create fancy colorful pictures of meals that you want your kid to eat, then ask them which one they want. As a parent, you can also involve the child in the shopping process to generate excitement.
Camouflage Healthy Meals
Funny tastes and smells can make a kid avoid a specific food completely. But if it’s something healthy, even if it doesn’t taste appetizing, you still want your loved one to reap the full health benefits. So trick them into eating healthy treats by camouflaging them in their favorite meals.
For instance, add fruits and vegetables to their favorite smoothies. Make the cooking process even more fun by enlisting their help when cooking or blending. That way, they will be familiar with several ingredients and have something to talk about while eating, which works as a distraction.
Consume Meals With a Favorite Persons
While what we consume often impacts overall health, the company we eat it with has a great influence on the kind of meal choices preferred. Picky eaters will start eating new food if they see their role model or favorite person consuming the same thing. Parents can also increase their intake of nutritious ingredients to motivate their kids to do the same.
The bonus strategy is to allow children to feed with kids of the same age group. The concept is that if your picky eater sees their friend eating a specific healthy meal, they are likely to do the same without any prompting from adults.
So use the peer pressure concept to help them with a variety of foods. You can arrange for play dates several days a week or invite the family over a few times for lunch or dinner. Remember, kids will imitate the behavior of their parents or even peers. So use that to your advantage to influence the meal choices you will love to see your young one eating.