Hi y’all! The question (topic) I’m going to tackle today is something I’m currently dealing with- what do I feed a picky eater? Today green beans might be a fan favorite but tomorrow they will be the most disgusting thing they’ve ever tasted. It can be super frustrating because we all know they need those veggies, especially the green ones! I’ve tried hiding them in casseroles and smothering them in cheese. I’ve even tried making them eat it again the next day. (So they know that it tastes better the first time around.) But all I got was a lot of push back and tears which made family dinner feel like a wrestling match.
Disclaimer- I AM NOT a professional nutritionist, doctor, or expert on child rearing. If you are looking for professional advice please stop reading now. But if you are looking for some helpful tips from a mom, please read on!
Family meals should be laid back and full of interesting conversation. We should use dinner time as a chance to bond with our children. So, instead of breaking out your singlet (the tight little number wrestlers wear) and readying yourself for a tumble, take a couple of these tips and tricks to the dinner table instead!
tips for feeding a picky eater
- Swap the “icky” foods for other healthy options they actually like. (e.g.- salad for baked beans or carrots for mashed potatoes.)
- Put a spin on a common food. ( My oldest son refuses to eat potatoes, but if I slice or dice them up and throw them in the air fryer he will eat a plate full!)
- Experiment with recipes. (Instead of boiled green beans with salt and pepper, try sautéing them with garlic powder and Parmesan cheese.)
- Give them options. (They will be more willing to eat what is on their plate if they are the ones who chose it.)
- Have a “good food” night. (This is what my kids call pizza or chicken nugget night.)
(Make favorite foods with a healthy twist. Use wheat bread instead of white or give them a pickle instead of the actual cucumber. A “little” healthy is better than no healthy at all.)
what do i feed a picky eater?- How to make sure they get enough nutrients
As our kids personal chef it is our job to create healthy habits. Even with the tips mentioned above it can still be challenging to know if the kiddos are eating enough. Are they getting the right amount of nutrients? Are they getting enough food in general? Sometimes kids can be great eaters, but they are eating the wrong things. A great eater isn’t always a healthy eater. And picky eaters make this even harder.
My daughter (twin B) is a fantastic eater! She usually eats whatever you put on her plate and isn’t afraid to try anything new at least once. But on occasion I’m concerned that she is “overeating”. Then there’s my oldest son (twin A) who is definitely our picky eater. (He is even super picky with junk food.) So, my concern is that he’s not getting enough nutrition from his food choices. And lastly, there’s my youngest son…he is more like his sister. He loves to eat, but he has “picky” days. He’s one of those kids I mentioned above, he likes green beans today but tomorrow they will be gross.
So, how do I create a balanced meal for 3 different types of eaters?
How much food should my child eat?
I did a little digging to find the answer to this one. Honestly, it didn’t take long. PediaSure has an excellent article that answers this question.
We have all heard of the food pyramid, but one thing I noticed is that pyramid doesn’t always tell us the “amount” of each food group for the “age” group. In PediaSure’s article they break down each food group into age groups, which then include the amounts and some food suggestions.
How to ensure and encourage healthy eating habits
There are so many fun ideas out there that not only help us “chefs” promote healthy eating habits, but also encourage our picky eaters to make healthy choices!
Food pyramid plates can be super handy! To be honest I do not have the time to measure out each food group, but with these plates I know I’m at least close to the preferred amount.
Another really fun idea is a food chart for kids! Pinterest has a ton of ideas; from actual daily charts to a list of healthy foods that super heroes and princesses eat! I am all for adding motivation to my kids mealtime choices. And as always, setting the example is one of the best motivational tools we can use!
What do i feed a picky eater?- A trick to make mealtime enjoyable
Even though meal times need to be healthy and nutritious, it is okay to compromise occasionally. I’ve learned my way or the highway doesn’t always work in every situation, especially meal time. Try to remember you were once a kid with a non-sophisticated pallet. (To be honest, mine still isn’t super sophisticated.) However, don’t over compromise and serve up pizza every night. We still want to teach our kids healthy eating habits! Just keep encouraging and trying new foods, eventually the consistency will pay off.
P.S.- Here is a little trick I try….snack restriction. I don’t force my kids to eat all of their food. But, if they don’t eat all of the food on their plate they don’t get a snack or dessert. However, I bend that rule for a new food. As long as they try it once they get to keep their snack privileges. You’ll be amazed how well it works! (That is if your kids LOVE snacks!)
If you want to keep the good times going check out these fun “family time” tips!