How To Handle Picky Eaters

Picky Eaters

How to Handle Picky Eaters and What May Help Them Get Over It

Many kids are known for being picky eaters, and there may be reasons for that. Certain vegetables or greens can taste bitter to a child’s hypersensitive taste buds.

Other foods, like cilantro, can taste soapy to certain individuals while it may taste delicious to others. In other cases, however, picky eating may just come down to preferences and experiences. Kids who are not exposed to other foods may become cautious eaters and grow hesitant to trying something new. However, other kids may have a legitimate issue with texture and taste.

Hows and Whys

The first step to understanding your picky eater is to figure out where their pickiness comes from. If it’s a matter of taste and texture, you can try and work around these issues by sticking to foods that do not have these features. For instance, if broccoli is too bitter, sweet peas may be a better tasting alternative. If it all comes down to fear of the unknown, then there are some other things you can consider.

A Head’s Up

Giving kids options, or letting them know what is available, can help them eat what’s in front of them. If they are conditioned to believe that you’ll whip up some macaroni and cheese anytime they don’t like or refuse to eat something, they may begin refusing to eat certain foods outright without even trying.

You can let them know ahead of time what to expect when it comes time to eat. Letting them know that if they don’t like what’s on the menu is fine. But you can also emphasize that there are no other options.

Allowing kids to know what to expect and giving them a window can help mentally prepare them for the meal to come. This will also help prevent a tantrum, especially if they might otherwise be surprised by a new or unfamiliar food. Another option is to get kids involved in cooking so that they are more likely to eat if they were a part of the process.

Keep it Fresh

Spicing things up a bit can help, too. Keep in mind though that taste buds are sensitive in children. However, exposing them to different flavors, spices, and other ingredients early on can help make new foods more familiar to them. If they have something to refer back to, they may be more adventurous and willing to try new dishes.

Make it a Group Activity

Eating as a family certainly helps, too. When you eat as a unit, it becomes more of a family activity rather than a chore, especially for kids who would much rather play than eat a meal. Plus, plenty of studies show that kids who eat dinner with their families have healthier diets, better vocabularies, and much more.

You can still expect kids to get squirmy after a while and not finish everything on their plate, but by making dinner and other meals a sit-down family affair, it can help coerce them into being a part of the activity itself and come to really appreciate family meals together.

A Little Bribery Can Go a Long Way…

If all else fails, you can always promise them ice cream. While you shouldn’t allow them to replace a meal with a treat, the idea of a treat afterward, or when a good portion of the food is gone can help. You can also apply this to seconds, as well. However, if your child prefers one part of the main course over another, no seconds will be allowed. Once they’ve eaten a good amount of their vegetables or other healthy side also included in the meal.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Kids

Leading a busy life can leave little time for breakfast, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For kids, what they eat before going out to play or heading off to school can also have a dramatic impact on their behavior, their development, and their ability to adapt or to absorb information. Finding a healthy alternative to quick fixes like toaster pastries or sugary cereals can be tough, especially if you need something quick and easy, but by considering some of these suggestions, breakfast might be easier than you think.

Fruits are an essential part of any diet, and they are a great way to start the day. Things like apples and bananas provide essential dietary fibers, potassium, vitamin C, and B vitamins. Unlike other sugary options, the natural sugars found in apples are not as damaging and the phytonutrients found in apples can actually help regulate blood sugar levels. Speaking of sugar, despite the sugars found in apples, studies show that eating an apple is a much healthier alternative to drinking coffee. Potassium-rich foods like bananas have been shown to be effective in lowering blood pressure, and can help you stay fuller longer as well.

You can prep a quick snack chock full of apple slices or banana coins when in a rush, but these super fruits can also be easily added to other heartier, and healthier options, like oatmeal, yogurt or toast, and can be enjoyed with an extra helping of peanut butter or other fruits like raisins or blueberries.

If your kids love sugary cereals, then granola may be a great alternative. Like when shopping for cereal, checking the sugar content and the number of processed ingredients is still important if you want to stay healthy. But granola can still be chock full of flavor and incredibly versatile. Add it to yogurt, sprinkle fruit on top, add honey, or eat it on the go as a snack.

The oats in granola contain an impressive amount of iron and fiber. Granola that also contains nuts and seeds can help to add heart-healthy unsaturated fats and some protein to your morning meal as well. You can buy granola from the supermarket, making sure to research beforehand, but you can also make granola yourself ahead of time. Home-made breakfast bars can include granola, fruit, and other ingredients that you can then have ready to-go if you’re in a rush, or just throw some loose granola in a plastic bag for kids to munch on at snack time.

Smoothies can make breakfast feel a little more fun, especially for kids. Combining some of the fruit and yogurt ideas above, you can mix these ingredients along with other things like juice, or even sneak in some greens, to make a delicious and healthy concoction that is both quick and easy. Smoothies also make for a great on-the-go option, too, and with the right container they can accompany your kids on the ride to school if you’re running especially late or if they simply want to savor their first meal of the day.

Ready Made
If you’re really in a hurry, or if your kids tend to be picky, microwavable options or quick-mix go-to may be something more up your alley. Buying items like these can be tricky, especially since many of them contain preservatives, or lots of sugars and high fructose corn syrup. Everything in moderation is key, so finding some troubling ingredients like corn syrup may not be the end of the world, but always make sure that the rest of the ingredients are healthy or pack some nutrients.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with splurging once in a while or treating yourself and the kids to something a little less than health-conscious, but make sure that it is not an everyday thing. Not only is it better for your health and wellbeing in the long-run, but it can also make indulging on sweet treats like waffles, pancakes, egg sandwiches and lots of bacon all the more special when you do have the time or simply feel like having something a little extra special.

You can research and find some pretty inspired lists of healthy breakfast treats and recipes online for kids. Depending on your schedule or your ability to plan ahead, you can consider adding some of these recipes to your breakfast menu to brighten your kid’s day or just to mix things up a little.

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