Tips for Parents to Tackle Picky Eating Habits

As a parent, you want what’s best for your child. This includes providing them with healthy and nutritious meals. However, picky eating habits can make meal times a real struggle. From refusing to eat vegetables to only wanting to eat certain foods, it can be frustrating for parents. In this blog post, we will provide some tips and tricks on how to overcome picky eating and ensure that your child gets the nutrients they need.

Tips and tricks to help you tackle picky eating habits

1. Offer a variety of foods:

Parent with child and vegetables

One of the most effective ways to tackle picky eating habits is to offer your child a variety of foods. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Rather than forcing your child to eat certain foods, offer a range of options and let them choose what they want to eat. This way, they will feel empowered and more likely to try new foods.

2. Get your child involved:

Mother cooking with children

Children are more likely to eat foods that they have helped to prepare. Get your child involved in meal planning and cooking. Plan family meals to include one type of food that the whole family enjoys, and make it clear that there will be no exceptions. When you go grocery shopping, let them choose some of the foods they want to eat. Involving your child in the process will also help them learn about different foods and how to make healthy choices.

3. Be creative with presentation:

Creative Healthy meals

Sometimes, picky eaters refuse to eat certain foods because of how they look. Be creative with how you present food to your child. For example, turn vegetables into fun shapes or make a colorful fruit salad. This can make meal times more enjoyable for your child and encourage them to try new foods.

4. Stick to a routine:

Routine Dinner

Family members, including older siblings, are important role models for healthy eating. Eat at regular times. Children thrive on routines and structure. Try to establish regular meal times and stick to them as much as possible. This will help your child develop healthy eating habits and make meal times less stressful for both of you.

5. Don’t force them to eat:

Forcing children to eat

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is forcing their children to eat. It’s essential to remember that everyone has different taste preferences, and a child’s taste buds are still developing. If they don’t like something, forcing them to eat it will only make them dislike it more. Instead, try to introduce new foods slowly and in small portions. Be patient and persistent, as it may take several attempts before your child will even consider trying something new.

6. Set a good example:

Child grabbing Salad with tongs

Children are more likely to try new foods if they see everyone else at the dinner table eating the same thing. Children are like sponges, they soak up everything they see, including your eating habits. If you want your child to eat healthy food, make sure you eat healthy too. Try to add more fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods to your plates, so your child can see you enjoying them.

7. Be patient:

Child refusing food

Finally, it’s important to be patient when dealing with picky eating habits. It can take time for children to develop a taste for certain foods. Don’t give up on offering them healthy options, even if they initially refuse them. Keep trying and eventually, your child may surprise you by trying and enjoying something new.

Kids eating sandwiches

Dealing with picky eating habits can be a challenge for any parent. However, by offering a variety of foods, getting your child involved in meal planning and cooking, being creative with presentation, sticking to a routine, and being patient, you can help your child develop healthy eating habits. Remember, it may take time for your child to develop a taste for certain foods, so don’t give up on offering them healthy options. By following these tips and tricks, you should start to see improvements in your child’s picky eating over time and you can ensure that your child is getting the nutrients they need and establish healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. 

At Eastern Therapy PT, OT & Speech in Wilmington, NC, our expert feeding therapy services can help your child develop a healthy relationship with food. Whether your child struggles with sensory issues or has difficulty transitioning to new foods, our team can provide tailored solutions that best suit your child’s needs. Don’t let picky eating habits negatively impact your child’s growth and development. Take action today and schedule a consultation with Eastern Therapy PT, OT & Speech to start your child on the path towards healthy eating habits.

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