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5 Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters

I now have a lot of experience under my belt for dealing with a picky eater. It’s so frustrating when you just want your kid to eat healthy food because, you know, their brains and bodies are growing and stuff, and yet you are met with hurricane force resistance. Learning these strategies really helped us, and I hope one or more of these tips helps you with your pick eater. Here they are:

1. Consider whether your kid is a run of the mill picky eater or if there is something else going on. For years, I thought my daughter was just a normal picky eater and would grow out of it on her own if we just didn’t make it a big issue. It turns out, though, that she has some sensory processing issues that extend into food, specifically textures. Knowing that has changed our approach quite a bit. Especially because kids’ brains and bodies ARE growing, and that requires the right building materials if it’s going to happen properly. No pressure or anything. Sensory processing issues, zinc deficiency, and food intolerances are just a few possible reasons why kids might be resistant to eating the healthier foods you put in front of them, that go beyond just normal kid picky eating.

2. Figure out your kid’s preferred textures. Give them healthy foods that match that texture. Our kid likes crunchy and soft foods, so we’ve been able to slowly open her up to new foods if we give her foods with those textures, and we assure her that they are either crunchy or soft before she tries them.

3. Figure out a dip or spread that your kid likes. Put that *&#% on everything. Our kid likes peanut butter (go for the organic, or or two ingredient only, real PB). She’ll eat a lot of foods now that she never would have a year ago, as long as they have PB on them. Egg souffles, fish sticks, and salmon cakes, to name a few. You’re probably thinking this sounds gross, but, to be fair, you probably eat plenty of foods that she thinks sound gross. 🙂 And it works.

4. Put newly “acquired” foods into frequent rotation. Once you’ve gotten your picky eater to eat a new food with relatively little effort, try not to let more than a week or so go before you give them that food again, or your might be back at square one again. Once a week seems to work for us for our high priority foods that we want to get in out daughter.

5. Focus on one new food at a time, and choose strategically. Choose a healthy food that you think is not too big of a stretch for your kid. Strike a balance between what nutrients your think they are missing and how much of your bandwidth will be needed to get this food in them. For us, getting our kid to eat eggs was our first priority food.

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