As a parent, you want your children to be as healthy as possible. One way you can support their health is to ensure they’re eating nutritious meals. Of course, convincing picky eaters to try foods that are good for them is no easy task. Luckily, research shows that most fussy eaters typically don’t remain fussy forever.
That doesn’t mean you need to wait for your children to reach adulthood before you can expect them to start eating well. In the meantime, there are steps you can take to encourage your kids to try new foods. The following tips will help:
Set an Example
Just as researchers have found that many fussy eaters will eventually grow out of their pickiness, research has also shown that from a young age, kids are inclined to mimic their parents.
Remember that when eating in front of your kids. If they see you’re willing to eat certain foods and try meals you’ve never had before, they may be more inclined to do the same.
Get Them Involved
Depending on the age of your kids, the list of tasks they can help out with in the kitchen may be somewhat limited right now. However, allowing kids to participate in meal prep in any way they can may serve two purposes. One, your kids will be learning valuable life skills. Two, picky children are often more willing to try a meal if they in some way helped prepare it.
It can be tempting to give in to a child’s demands when you’ve prepared a meal and they decide they won’t eat it. You don’t want your kids to go hungry, so you’d rather make them what they want instead of continuing to argue with them.
This is understandable. However, you’re not doing either one of you any favors in the long run if you let your kids “win” these arguments. Make it clear that when you’ve prepared a meal for the family, you’re not a short order cook, and you expect them to eat what’s been served.
Focus on the Positive
This may be difficult when dealing with the frustrations that come from trying to help a picky eater become more adventurous, but in general, you should use positive language when discussing their eating habits. For example, instead of saying “My kid is so picky, but we’re going to change that,” say “I’m so proud of my kid for trying a new food last week.”
And remember, experts have found that it’s natural for children to be picky. There’s nothing “wrong” with your child if they’re a fussy eater. However, you can help them get over their fussiness sooner rather than later by remembering these tips.