Picky eating is a parental nightmare. It often leads to feelings of hopelessness and frustration, which can ultimately lead to the child developing an unhealthy relationship with food. Here are five New Year’s resolutions for parents who have picky eaters:
If you’re a parent with picky eaters, these are some resolutions to help your family start the new year off on the right foot. Read more in detail here: picky eater food list.
Children, Picky Eaters, Tips / How-Tos, Toddlers 4th of January, 2022
Raising a picky eater may seem like a never-ending fight, and meals are constantly fraught with compromises. How do you encourage your child to eat something RIGHT NOW without setting them up for a lifetime of chicken nuggets and pizza (or turning supper into an hour-long drama)?
There isn’t a silver bullet or a “super-parent secret” that everyone knows about… However, there are a few changes you can do to encourage, support, and nourish your fussy eater—not only for dinner tonight, but throughout the rest of the year and as they develop into a healthy, independent child.
Include these five on your list of New Year’s goals! With a bit more success and a lot more nutrients, you’ll be ready to combat food refusals.
1. Create a Kid-Friendly Zone in Your Kitchen
If one of your New Year’s intentions is to declutter using the KonMari technique, this is a terrific way to channel that energy while simultaneously making your finicky eater feel more at ease in the kitchen.
Set aside a special space in your kitchen that “belongs” to your child to make it more kid-friendly. (You may use a pantry shelf, a ground-level cabinet, a rollable kitchen organizer, or even recycled cardboard boxes.) Label it, then fill it with everything your child will need to eat and assist in the kitchen:
What does this mean for your finicky eater? Because environmental discomfort is frequently as much a factor of selective eating as any specific meal, adjusting the environment might be a startling step in the right direction. The more comfortable your child learns with meal preparation and eating, the better.
You won’t have to be the official guardian of the goodies, which is a nice plus for busy parents. Your children will have access to wholesome, pre-approved snacks and will be able to pick them on their own.
2. Involve your picky eater in meal preparation.
Toddlers and children are always coming up with new methods to exhibit their independence, and some picky eaters may refuse to eat in order to make their independence known. Rather of fighting your iron will, work with it!
Get your child engaged in meal preparation before it’s time to eat, and they’ll feel more in charge and independent. Hopefully (though not usually), this will encourage your youngster to consume what they’ve helped prepare.
Here are some ideas for engaging your finicky eater:
- Your child choose one component for the dinner, while you select the other.
- One side dish is chosen by your child, while the other is chosen by you.
- Your child may assist in the washing of vegetables, the mixing of ingredients, or the plating of meals.
- Your child chooses their favorite dish and cutlery.
- You and your child go grocery shopping together, and your child choose the fresh vegetables.
- Allow your child to choose the meals for the next week if you get kids meals from Nurture Life.
Try defining a goal with a particular number attached to make this a resolve you can track over time. Maybe once a week, twice a week, or even once a month, you’ll try to include your child at meals. (Don’t worry about “not doing enough,” since little actions add up.)
You may use your own bullet journal or calendar software to keep track of your goal, or you can make your calendar part of the fun for your finicky eater!
Make or print a poster to place in your new “child zone” in the kitchen and use it to keep track of what your kids have done or intend to do there. Try gamifying the calendar with stickers, points, or other little prizes if you really want to go all out. Our advice is to make these “rewards” tiny and inconsequential, so that the emphasis is on the eating experience rather than the gifts.
3. Discuss What You’re Eating
Being honest with our children about what we eat is an important aspect of our purpose at Nurture Life. We do, on occasion, conceal the vegetables… However, the ultimate objective is to instill in our children good eating habits that will last a lifetime.
So, what’s the best way to go about it? Communication, communication, communication: it’s all about it.
- Give your youngster as much early warning as possible about what you’ll be eating. It’s usually preferable to have fewer shocks.
- Discuss why we eat some foods more often than others, emphasizing the link between what we eat and how we feel. (Talking about your child’s hobbies, such as swimming or dance, may be quite beneficial.)
- Get your child’s opinion on future meals. You may not be able to accommodate every request for pizza and ice cream, but you can take use of this chance to explore healthier options or illustrate the concept of moderation in indulgences.
- If your fussy eater refuses to try a new dish, find out why. Use queries like “How does it taste?” that are encouraging and non-judgmental. “How does the texture feel?” or “How does the texture feel?”
The details of this New Year’s goal for parents will be determined by the schedule and routine of your family.
If you’re a numbers person, you may attempt to come up with a numerical objective, or you can keep things loose and casual with a simple sticky note to remind yourself to speak about food more.
4. Create a New Foods Schedule
If you have a pre-made list to refer to, it will be simpler to introduce new meals to finicky eaters. It also doesn’t have to be formal or very thorough. Simply make a broad plan for how often you’d want to introduce new meals to your kid, as well as a list of potential items to test. A little planning ahead of time will help you stay on track throughout the year, even when your calendar becomes overburdened.
You may choose your own plan, however we prefer to introduce new meals every 2–3 weeks. This allows your youngster to experiment with new ingredients without becoming overwhelmed. Because a picky eater might take up to 15 tries to adopt a new dish, “slow but steady” is essential.
Here’s an example of how a casual schedule may look:
Allow your child to taste the component in many different ways. Even if you don’t intend to prepare the meals yourself, you may experiment with new dipping sauces, spices, side dishes, and presentation ideas to complement the new foods.
5. Make a commitment to it
You may persuade your fussy eater to try something new, even if it’s the hated broccoli or the much-rejected fish. Persistence is crucial! If you’ve tried all of these suggestions and aren’t sure what to do next, Nurture Life can assist with fussy eater meals.
Don’t forget to congratulate yourself on your accomplishments. Perhaps a beautiful chocolate bar, a good cup of coffee, or a 30-minute massage in the midst of a hectic weekend. Self-care may go a long way in rejuvenating a fatigued soul and recommitting to the fussy eating struggle.
Please contact Nurture Life’s trained dietitians at [email protected] if you have any concerns regarding how to speak about food with your kid or how to introduce new foods to fussy eaters.
Rachael joined the Nurture Life team as the Marketing Production & QA Manager. From menu design to nutrient analysis, she covers all things food. Rachael is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with a strong foundation in clinical nutrition and a keen interest in nutritious food with phenomenal flavor. Her passion for incorporating whole foods and creative cuisine while focusing on age-specific nutrient needs of children is essential to Nurture Life’s menu design. Rachael has been practicing dietetics since 2011, with the bulk of her experience in clinical nutrition at Loyola Medical Center, specializing in patients with cystic fibrosis as well as critical care nutrition related to lung disease and lung transplant. She also has experience in cardiac health and nutrition during pregnancy. Rachael received her B.S. from Saint Louis University in Missouri and completed a dietetic internship with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Rachael’s interests include creative cooking at home, using a variety of ingredients, spices and herbs for a unique meal each night. She truly believes nutrition and food should be enjoyable and that all food can be enjoyed in moderation.
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