It’s dinner time, and you plate up that dish you’ve worked on for hours – a labor of love packed with tasty meat and lovely veggies. Everyone’s gathered in your halal home’s dining room, enjoying the meal. The time comes to clean up the plates, and you see it – a spoonful of peas and carrots left on the plate.
Picky eater children can be one of a parent’s biggest challenges aside from being a homeowner. Even some of us parents were picky eaters at one point. Sometimes, it feels easier to buy a home with cash than force a picky eater to eat, especially the veggies.
So, what do we do? Do we succumb to the idea that they’ll never change?
Don’t fret; we have listed some things you can try to improve your child’s eating habits.
Tip #1: Start with Small Servings
Introducing large portions of new food to your children can overwhelm them. Why don’t you place a bite of the new food on their plate to get things started?
You can serve a couple of peas, a noodle, or a small cheese slice. This allows the child to try out the food without the pressure of finishing everything.
Tip #2: Set Up a Standard Rotation
One way to get kids into the habit of eating better is by not giving them the same food for two days consecutively. If you served broccoli for dinner tonight, do a dish with carrots tomorrow, and then whip up another dish for lunch the next day. Mixing things up means your kids won’t get tired of the food item while developing the habit.
Tip #3: Play Around with the Food
Kids get bored quickly, so getting them engaged with the food will help change their eating habits. Try glamming their plates with fun and whimsical food preparation, like forming a funny face with the ingredients. You can also have them help during prep time to capture their intrigue and see what goes on in making the meal.
Tip #4: Have Everyone Share the Same Meal
Setting an example is another great way to influence them into eating new dishes. Making special meals for our kids won’t help develop their food preferences or eat healthy. Instead, prepare something that everyone will enjoy if they see others like it; they might also want to try it.
Tip #5: Set Snack Boundaries for Your Picky Eater
Nibbling on some snacks isn’t bad – but having them before a meal might affect their appetite. You can set ground rules for devouring the sweet stuff – no snacks before lunch or dinner. That way, their tummies will have space for the new dish you’ve prepared.
Tip #6: Be Consistent (and Patient) with Your Picky Eater
Consistency is critical in building a habit, especially with the young picky eater. While they might initially be defiant or resistant to change, staying the course will lead to positive results. Stopping halfway will give your kids the idea that they’re in charge.
Tip #7: Listen to Your Picky Eater’s Preferences
Here’s another fact: kids LOVE being heard – use it to your advantage. I remember my daughter disliking carrots passionately – except in carrot cakes. So, I made carrot cakes at least once a month until she wanted to try something else with carrots.
If they verbalize a food preference or a specific preparation, try it out next time. It might be the secret sauce to have them eat.