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Are Your Kids Picky Eaters?

Are Your Kids Picky Eaters?
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Having a picky eater in the family can be frustrating. You may also find yourself becoming concerned that your child isn’t getting all the nutrients they need from what they are, or are not, eating.

Picky eating is common among toddlers. At around the age of one, young kids are able to feed themselves and discover that actually, they don’t have to eat what’s on their plate. While this newfound independence can be fun for children, it isn’t so easy for the parents, who are trying to ensure their kids get a healthy balanced diet.

Underlying issues

There are some underlying issues that can lead to picky eating or children refusing food. These include physiological issues such as difficulty chewing or swallowing. If you suspect this is the case then its best to have your child seen by your family GP. Also, if a child has had a bad experience with food, through choking or gagging for example, then they may become wary of eating.

Fussy eaters

However, most picky eaters don’t have any underlying conditions and are simply fussy about what they eat. Most kids grow out of the finicky stage when they get through toddlerhood, but others remain picky for years to come. If you’re tearing your hair out trying to get your child to eat healthy meals in a variety of foods then here are some tips to get you started.

Grazers

Many picky eaters are what’s known as grazers. This means they eat little often and are less likely to finish a full meal. Try to encourage your child to sit down to three meals a day with only two healthy snacks in between. Have set times for these snacks so that your child doesn’t feel too hungry in between and knows when to expect them.

Take it slowly

Are Your Kids Picky Eaters?New foods should be introduced one at a time. This means you’ll want to incorporate a new ingredient alongside a meal you already know they’ll eat. Offer one of your child’s favourite meals with the new food on the side. Make sure there’s always at least one thing on your child’s plate that you know they’ll be happy to eat.

Be sneaky

If your child really won’t eat much in the way of fruit and vegetables then sneak them into meals. Grate carrots and other veggies into a tomato-based pasta sauce or hide some lentils in a chilli or soup dish. Add strawberries or banana to yoghurts and boost the nutritional value of cereal by adding raisins.

Appetite

Many children are capable of controlling their own appetite, stopping when they’re ready or asking for more if they’re not quite full. Let your child be the judge of how much or little they eat (within reason) and don’t overfill plates, which might put them off. Avoid forcing kids to finish a meal or snack and trust that they know when they’re full. Of course, if they decide they’re hungry later you can always bring the meal back out.

Make it fun

Are Your Kids Picky Eaters?While the main purpose of eating is for nutrition, we do place value on the enjoyment aspects of food as well. Encouraging your child to see food in this way can work wonders for getting them to try new flavours and textures. Get them involved with food shopping and preparation and chat about why they like certain dishes while you cook – you may find some ideas for similar dishes that might work. Try to make food fun by presenting it in different shapes or using the food to create a funny face on the plate. Anything that engages your child and gets them excited about food is great.

 

 

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About Maria Brett

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About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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