It’s Time for a Truce!
Top Tips for Picky Eaters
Tired of the daily dinnertime battles? If your picky prince or princess just won’t budge when it comes to “just one bite,”
try these top tips to bring smiles – and sanity – back to
Set regular meal times – and stick to them
Set a regular snack/meal schedule – and let your child know that if they choose not to eat at the designated time, they won’t eat again until the next scheduled meal. If they don’t eat, that’s their choice – but there will be no sneaking into the pantry for something else!
Make sure snacks satisfy – not sabotage
Eating habits can change over the years, and you may find the afternoon snack that used to tide your daughter over is now filling her up far too much for supper. Re-evaluate your meal occasions from time to time and adjust portions and times as needed.
Most kids hate being told what to do, so if they’re involved in dinnertime decisions, they may be more likely to eat the end product. Bring your kids to the grocery store and let them pick the veggies for the week. Then put their list on the fridge or the family notice board for everyone to see. If you have the time and the space, involve the kids and grow a small veggie garden, because if they grow that tomato themselves, they may be more inclined to eat it. In the kitchen, let little ones help mix, stir and create one family dinner each week. Contributing gets kids excited and helps them feel like they’re in control of what they’re eating.
Even more so for particularly picky eaters! If you want to score a 10 out of 10 from your little judge, it’s time to think outside the plate. Try hard-boiled egg “boats,” string bean “people” with grated cheese for hair – the possibilities, and fun, are endless.
Incorporate favourite foods with new ones
It’s almost a guaranteed recipe for disaster if you present a kid with a plate of foods they’ve never had. When introducing a new food, try to have at least one item on the plate that’s a guaranteed hit – like KD! The
KD Smart range blends cauliflower, inulin and oats, and flaxseed into the noodles, but even the pickiest eaters will enjoy them because they have the same great taste as original KD. For even more meal ideas featuring KD, check out these recipes.
Make food fun
Anytime you can turn eating into a game, you’re sure to have the kids on your side. Ask preschoolers to tell you what a food sounds like: “Do carrots crunch? Let me hear!” or “How many shapes do we have on our plate?” Many kids also love participating in a traditional glass-clinking after a toast. Turn this into an everyday activity by inviting little hands to toast with a spear of asparagus instead of a glass – and then eat the asparagus together afterwards! You may be surprised at how quickly kids oblige.
Nosh those nutrients
Fibre and omega-3s are important nutrients in our daily diets – and that goes for kids’ diets, too! Fibre can promote bowel regularity and prevent constipation. Omega-3s (specifically, ALA) are essential fats, which means we need to eat foods that contain ALA because our bodies cannot make it. Without sacrificing taste, KD Smart has no artificial flavours, added colours or preservatives and has high-fibre, vegetable and omega-3 options, making it easier to create a healthy and balanced meal for picky eaters.
Tune in to peer pressure
Peer pressure can be a great motivator, or demotivator, even at a young age. Your child may be avoiding a particular food for a specific reason: for example, they see parents or siblings avoiding it, so they start to avoid it, too. Address their concerns, and be sure you’re modelling positive eating habits. If you’re always leaving your broccoli on your plate (or not taking any at all), it’s hard to expect your child to gobble it up.
It can take several tries before a young child accepts a new food. In fact, research shows that it can take up to 15 tries for some foods to be accepted. What may be “yuck” one day could easily turn into “yum” on try number 10. Be patient and encourage your child to explore a food’s texture, colour and smell, not just its taste.
Keep expectations in check
It’s important to remember that kids’ stomachs are only about the size of their fist. So what may seem like a few measly bites to you may actually be all your child needs to eat to feel full.
Think big picture
Instead of analyzing what your child eats at a particular meal, take a look at their intake over an entire week. It can be easy to fixate on what they’re not eating at a particular meal, rather than acknowledging what they actually have eaten over the course of a few days.
Picky eating in young children is usually just a phase. But if you still have concerns, be sure to speak to a registered dietitian or your doctor.
All children should follow the recommendations found in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide. This includes eating the recommended number of servings from the four food groups each day.