How to Handle Picky Eaters?


I am sure all Moms out there experience a time when their kids will just not eat what’s served at the dinner table. 7pm is not called the Witching Hour for no reason – a happily playing kid suddenly turns into this “NO” maniac who refuses to eat what’s on his plate. Though our daughter has been a decently good eater, lately, its getting more challenging to feed her at dinner. She only wants one thing and not the other. We try not to cook separate food for her, instead I try giving her a plate that has a new food, and another plate which has her favorite food, which she gets to eat as dessert, once she finishes, or at least tries her main course:) This works most of the times, but there are still times when she won’t eat it at all – Maybe she’s full, maybe she’s just asserting her new-found independence (yes, she’s 26 months old!), maybe she’s just not in the mood to eat!.

So what do you do? as adults, we have the right to choose our food. We always cook and eat what we like, so why is it wrong for a kid to throw tantrums. I know we have to train them to eat all kinds of food, so how do you do that, without being restrictive? Do you believe in bribes – eat this, and you’ll get a chocolate later? I know a lot of moms do that, but I think its a bad habit to cultivate.

What do you think? and how do you tackle your child’s food-time tantrums? I think most parents use bribery at one point or another. And I can understand – after a whole day at work, you come home tired, prepare dinner, play with your child, and then sit down at the table with a wish to have some quiet time while you enjoy your food. Well, that’s a luxury unavailable to moms with toddlers. But I’m just trying to figure out a more agreeable solution; I do offer her food choices, which works sometimes, and fails at other times.

Do you let them cry and sleep hungry? or do you try to cook something else for them? Is there a way to tame these tantrums in a more appealing way?

My little one just turned 1 year old a few days ago, and while he is transitioning to solids, I am always looking for ways to make him like his food, rather than shove it down his throat! Here are some tricks that I use:

Make the food presentable
Look for small ways to vary your child’s favorite foods. Buy yogurt in tubes, drinks, or cups, and serve it frozen. Buy different brands of whole-grain crackers and pasta shapes. Offer fruits and veggies raw one day, roasted the next. If your child is sensitive to the smell of foods, try serving them at room temperature.

Serve it, don’t push it
This should be your mealtime mantra. Your job is to offer a variety of foods, and your child’s job is to make choices for herself. Aim for a neutral attitude whenever you present food; don’t tell her how much she’ll love it or warn that she might not like it. Remember, it often takes ten to 15 tastes before a child will accept a new food.

Add supplements to his meal
The market is flooded with nutritional drinks for toddlers, so if you are really concerned that your child is not getting enough nutrition, don’t feel ashamed of supplementing his needs with a bottle of Pediasure or other formula. You have your best intentions at heart, and that’s what matters!

Let them play with the food
If I want to feed baby carrots and peas to my toddler, I make him sit in his high chair to see how I microwave them. And then when cooled, I let him play with it, touch them, experience them, and more often than not, he tries putting it in his mouth, feels excited about it, and starts eating it himself. Exploring what they eat gives them power, and you’ll have them feeding themselves without any tantrums.

Eat the same food with them
As I said earlier, we try to feed the same food to our kids as we eat. If your toddler sees you eating something, he will be interested in copying you, and will be more acceptable to trying the same food rather than baby food out of a jar. Whenever possible, sit them on the dinner table and try eating the same food yourselves as what you feed them. You’ll see how easy it is for them to be receptive towards their meals with this trick.

I hope this article helps you make meal times more fun for moms and toddlers. Being creative and patient is the key here – remember that you are dealing with a baby, and enjoying food is as much of an emotional process as a physical one. So give it some time and nurturing, and you won’t be complaining about picky eaters anymore!