It’s dinner time and I’m standing in the kitchen. The creative cooking engine in my brain has popped into neutral. As I idle there, I envision a certain child of mine slowly strolling to the table. I imagine the delicious, nutritious meal laid out all colorful and enticing. Did I mention it was prepared with love? As my mind continues to wander, I can almost hear her utter those wonderful words of appreciation all Moms look forward to … ”Do I have to eat that! There’s nothing I like!”
I snap back to reality. Still in the kitchen. I’m in gear now, but my first creative idea is to chuck a skillet through the window. I take a nice, deep, relaxing breath. That’s better.
Picky eaters. Gotta love ‘em.
Tips to Help Your Picky Eater Eat Better:
- Don’t over react. Keep your attitude calm and relaxed. A stressful family meal experience is a recipe for indigestion!
- Encourage manners and respect. No bad mouthing a food. No “yuk”, making faces, or whining. Politely saying, “No, thank you”, is acceptable.
- Offer a variety of foods. I ask her to eat a minimum of three foods before leaving the table. Occasionally, I allow her to go get a food that’s not offered at the table, such as a banana or a yogurt. Remember, you are not a short order cook.
- Don’t force food. “Eat this or else!” is a tempting but empty threat and usually fails, big time. My job is to make good food available, hers is to eat it.
- Periodically encourage her to try something new. Also, a food that was once rejected might be accepted now. As her palate matures she could grow to like those sweet potatoes after all.
- Every small step she makes towards healthier eating counts. Thumbs up for being that persistent food coach!
If you have a nagging concern about your child’s growth and development, talk with your doctor or see a dietitian for a nutritional assessment.