Hands up if you’ve got picky eaters in your house! My son would happily live on plain pasta and sausages if I would let him, washed down with some ice cream and chocolate sauce. He doesn’t like his food touching, very rarely tries anything new and only has two vegetables he will eat.
Most children go through a picky eater stage at some point but it can also be part of sensory processing issues, or food aversions from food allergies or other illness. J has dealt with elements of both of these and we have tried everything to help.
What hasn’t worked:
Telling him off
Getting him to take ‘just one bite’
Putting new foods on his plate
So here are my top tips to help you cope with a picky eater:
Lead by example
Include a variety of fruit and vegetables in your meals, even if your children won’t eat it or even have it on their plates. It may not have any immediate effect but you are showing them it’s safe, will get them more comfortable with different foods and may even pique their interest.
Do they like smoothies or pasta sauce or chocolate brownies? These are great places to add extra nutrients. We were sent some great new frozen fruit and vegetable puree cubes by Lickalix. They are so convenient for throwing into recipes and we used them to make our fabulous sweet potato brownies.
Give fruit first
My children both like fruit more than vegatables but I know if I offer it after a meal, they are less likely to eat it. So often I will give them a small bowl to snack on while I prepare dinner or when they come from home ravenous.
Make small changes
After cooking meatballs at nursery, J decided he liked them. This then opened up the gates to make burgers too. He is already a fan of spaghetti so we swapped it for noodles. Making small steps and building on what they already like and make it more manageable for them.
Get them in the kitchen
J loves to help me in the kitchen. He weighs things, makes cakes and crumble, and chops vegetables, which he enjoys growing as well (even if he won’t eat most of them!). Both of them love making homemade smoothies and ice lollies too. The Lickalix cubes are great for these. Why not try our dairy free breakfast freakshake to start the day!
Concentrate on what your picky eaters will eat
It can be very easy to focus on the long list of things your child won’t eat but try to change your mindset. What do they enjoy? How can you find different ways to cook it? Try to create a balanced and varied menu with the foods they are comfortable with and this will help you find the areas you can work on expanding.
Make food fun
My kids love to eat outside and or have a picnic in the living room. They enjoy decorating cookies, licking the bowl clean and cutting sandwiches into different shapes. When you are faced with a picky eater, food can become a chore or a source of stress. Try to find ways to make it fun again.
The only thing that has truly worked for J is to just give him time! Every time we have tried to push things it has just made the whole situation more stressful and it hasn’t had any positive effect. Slowly, by doing all the things above we have made progress – they are still small steps but huge achievements for a picky eaters like him.
Remember, you are not doing anything wrong if you have a picky eater. It can be very disheartening but keep taking small, positive steps led by them and celebrate any progress you make.
Disclosure: We were sent the Lickalix products to feature in this post. All words and opinions are our own.