Inside: Genius tips to help add more nutrients and healthy foods for your picky eaters you are raising.
The Picky Eater Dilemma Many Parents Face
“Picky eaters, oh picky eaters, how you test the patience of even the most well-intentioned parents.” Sound familiar? As a working parent, you want the best for your little one, but mealtime can often feel like a battle between what’s best for their health and what they will actually eat. The good news is there is one simple way to add wholesome nutrients to a picky eater diet without being sneaky, creative, or convincing.
Key Idea to Fix Your Picky Eater Problem
Shred whole foods.
No need to make meals and snacks visually appealing with cookie cutters or add a pop of color to his plates. No need to involve your toddler in meal preparation to get him interested in what he’s eating by letting help cook. No need to turn mealtime into a fun and interactive experience by making airplane noises. Sure they work, but there’s a much simpler way.
Instead, ask your toddler what he wants to eat and let him pick. If he needs help, give him some healthy choices to choose from. If he picks mac and cheese, make it more nutritious by adding some shredded chicken or shredded broccoli. Let him have what he wants and make it healthier than plain mac and cheese.
It’s simple because you don’t have to mull over what to serve when he tells you. You’re not hiding veggies or meats in the form of smoothies or puree soup. Your toddler still gets the taste and texture from shredded carrots, broccoli, chicken, and fish. This allows him to get used to nutritious foods and develop a love for healthy foods. Your child won’t complain because he’s eating what he wants.
Don’t Make These Mistakes With Your Picky Eater
Overloading on nutrition
While it’s important to ensure your toddler gets a well-rounded, nutritious diet, it’s equally important to not overdo it. Sneaking in extra nutritious foods can change the overall food your toddler actually wants to eat. Instead, offer him the food he prefers, without trying to disguise it with excessive amounts of healthy ingredients. Keep in mind that toddlers can be discerning and may not be easily fooled into eating food that’s been altered too much.
Incorporating nutrition too fast
Incorporating wholesome ingredients into your toddler’s diet can be challenging. It’s common for picky eaters to refuse to try new foods, choose a limited range of foods, and take forever to chew food. So start by incorporating small amounts of wholesome ingredients into the food she already prefers. Increase the quantity or offer in normal bite-size over time. It takes time for your toddler to get used to the taste and texture of new ingredients.
Common Misconceptions for Parents of Picky Eaters
“They’re just going through a phase.”
Picky eating is a common problem among toddlers, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a phase that will pass on its own. As a parent, you play a crucial role in helping your child develop healthy eating habits.
“Any calories is better than no calories.”
This is not entirely accurate. While it is true that calories provide energy, the source of those calories can greatly impact a child’s overall health. For example, consuming sugary and processed foods like candy and cookies can lead to health problems.
“They won’t eat anything else.”
This is a common excuse used to justify giving in to a child’s limited range of choices. It can take up to 15 exposures to a new food before a child will accept it. It’s important to continue offering a variety of healthy options, even if they are initially rejected.
“It’s easier to give them what they want.”
True. While it may be easier in the short term, constantly giving into a child’s limited choices can lead to poor nutrition and unhealthy habits. Training your child to eat new foods and develop a taste for healthier options is important for their long-term health.
“It’s a treat.”
Treats, such as candies and juice, should be occasional and in moderation. Regularly incorporating processed foods into a child’s diet can lead to a preference for unhealthy options and contribute to poor nutrition.
Final Note About Feeding Your Picky Eater
Parents, take a deep breath! Adding nutritious options to your toddler’s diet doesn’t have to be a headache. Simply include small amounts of healthy foods like shredded vegetables, fruits, and meats into their meals, and you’ll be promoting growth and development.
And don’t worry about your little one being a picky eater. It’s a common phase that many toddlers go through. Just be patient and persistent, keep mealtime fun and relaxed, and encourage your child to try new foods at their own pace. So go ahead, take a step back from the stress, and make mealtimes enjoyable for the whole family.
Helen, the author of HealthHerWay.com is a mother to a toddler who loves everything Spider-Man. Join my email list for a free energy boosting course, exercise guide, or daily stories with more healthy tips to help you feel good.
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