As any mom that has weaned a baby will know, that meal times can be less than fun. You can spend a while making a healthy and well-balanced meal for your little one, only for them to reject it all or hardly eat any of it. Some days can go well, and you’re left with clean plates. Others are much more stressful where you are locked in a battle of wits with a one-year-old. It can be so frustrating when they just won’t eat anything or are very fussy about eating certain foods. So if there is anything that you can do to prevent it, then it can only be a good thing. Here are a few ways that you can try to avoid getting a fussy eater, or to help if you already have one.
It is important to introduce your little one to a variety of foods right from the start. They are going to turn up their nose at seafood or green beans if they are only seeing it for the first time as a three-year-old. When things are introduced earlier, they are much more likely to be good at eating a variety of foods. It could be a good idea to sit with them and talk them through what they think it is, or where the food comes from. Seeing you eat the food will be beneficial too as they can see that it does taste good and isn’t anything that they should be worried about. You could even give them an appetizer with each meal. So one small dish with something new that they have to try before they get to the main meal and dessert. Making mealtimes more fun will make it seem like much less of a chore; a stressful one at that!
If you are already in the place where you have a child that is a little fussy, then using a sticker or reward chart could be a good idea. If you let them decorate the chart themselves, you can explain what it is about. Stickers or pen marks could be used every time they try something new or eat a whole meal, for example. So it will depend on the severity of how fussy they are. When you explain that a certain amount of stickers or marks mean prizes, they will start eating more for sure. Then after a while, they will have forgotten what all of the fuss was about and eat normal meals as they should.
Avoid your children snacking too much. When they have some empty calories from snacks like chips, they will just fill up on those instead. They taste better than a bowl of veggies, right? So limit their snack intake to healthier options to things like fruit and raw vegetable sticks. Then your kids will have no comparison in terms of taste, and it will be filling them up with goodness, rather than unhealthy fats. They will be so much more likely to eat a meal if that is the case.