When it comes to picky eaters, sometimes you have to outsmart them! Here are some top tips for your picky eater.
1. Have a Strategy
Approaching snacks and mealtimes with a strategy can help a great deal. It "arms" you, the parent, with a response to begging, not finishing food, and refusal to eat certain foods. Read on for some specifics on strategy.
2. Loosen the Control Grip
Unfortunately, parents often grab for more control when there's a situation that needs "correcting" - whether it's an overweight child or a picky eater. The problem with this, though, is that it may create an obsession with "forbidden" foods, or set your child up to make excuses to reward him or herself by eating comfort foods.
In an era when more than half of Americans are overweight, we need to take special care not to set our kids up for a weight struggle later in life. So relax, and focus on teaching your child to listen to his or her body.
3. Plan Meals and Snacks
Having meals planned and including snacks (so your child doesn't have to beg for a snack every day, and you "give in" and let him/her eat junk food) may help a lot with picky eating. Kids tend to respond positively to routine.
4. Keep Foods Simple
Casseroles are tempting because they are easy and inexpensive, but kids tend to shun "mixtures." You may find that simple, plain foods are actually easier to prepare in the end! Finger foods tend to be a big hit, like sandwiches, and vegetables and dip, sliced fruit, and simple pastas are often popular.
5. Hide the Veggies and Fruits
Fresh veggies and fruits can be whizzed in a blender with jarred spaghetti sauce, cheese dip, and pizza sauce. Speaking of pizza, mince up spinach or zucchini and sprinkle over pizza. Cover with veggie pepperoni and a moderate amount of cheese.
6. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Give your child choices of what to eat - just make sure that each option is something healthy and acceptable. This helps the child feel like he or she has a "voice" in what is eaten, and also introduces them to variety that is a key to healthy eating.
7. Funny Food
Check the internet for fun ways to prepare food. You can make landscapes with rice or mashed potatoes as a background; cut fruit and cheese into shapes; and cut bread into shapes as well. There are so many things you can do to make food fun and beautiful to look at - and somehow, kids tend to like eating these fun landscapes!