We might think that the picky kid is a kind of character error. We think that the child is only good if it’s not picky, but the personal taste itself is not a problem. The problem there is if we don’t see the line between taste and unhealthy eating because of unilateralism. What is your kid doing when he’s picky? How can you help them to not be picky?
Every one of us has his own taste, there are tastes which we like and those that we hate, just like our kids. But it is very important at the beginning, for you to start to bring nutrition to your baby. Some of them will prefer sweeter tastes, some of them the more natural ones. Try to stick with the natural tastes, mix the natural with a little sweet, and so on. Try to avoid ready-made baby foods and drinks. These are full of unnecessary additional nutrition, sugar, and color. By that time, it’s very important for them to taste natural foods. That is the possible way for our kids to have their healthy taste later.
When can we say that our kid is picky?
Pickiness becomes a problem when it’s affecting our kid’s health badly, meaning it becomes one-sided. By “one-sided,” I mean they don’t eat at all or less from the main food groups.
- Milk and milk products
- Meat, fish, eggs, and other protein-containing food
It’s not a problem if they don’t have all of these, if they select not much and only a few things. The problem is when they only eat basically carbohydrate-based, sweet, and overly flavored foods like: milky bar, pasta, bread, and frankfurters. This way, the kid becomes addicted to carbohydrates.
How could that happen?
It starts when the baby is a bad-eater, or growing badly. The mother starts to get worried that when the kid refuses the food, she quickly makes another one. Easily creating a list of favorite foods, and when the kid is not eating food again, the mother offers the favorite again, and then it becomes a closed cycle. And soon, when the kid will reach his defiance era, we can’t deal with our mistake anymore.
The first step by then, is for the parent to “decide” about how to continue, because this is the parent’s responsibility. Parents have to solve this problem.
- Parents have to learn to say “NO.”
- Make the food together, let the kid help, and set the table together, then put the “normal” food in front of him/her.
- Eat together as much as possible, for you to make them see how many different foods can be good and delicious.
- Eat healthy food in front of them, setting a good example to them.
- If they stop, don’t give them something else, like their favorite food.
- Don’t be huffy and nervous, that would just make the situation worse.
- Give them smaller portions.
- Taste everything with them.
- Create relaxed conditions, no TV on, no games on the table, make eating a joyful moment.
- Try again. If they don’t like something, try it a few weeks later.
- Be tricky and say this food is made from a lot of ingredients. Don’t tell them exactly what is in there – they will taste for sure.
- Don’t show them everything is about eating.
- Don’t force them to eat everything that is on the plate.
- Don’t always cook their favorite.
- Don’t use food as a reward or for negotiation.
- Don’t substitute healthy food with junk food and sweets.
Never forget: you are the adult and he’s the child. They might argue louder and be hardheaded, but you need to help them to have right habits and to live healthy.