Dealing with a picky eater can be very difficult. I know! I have had issues with each of my kids in this area. As a mom, I want them to have a balanced diet and be able to sit at a dinner table without needing a separate menu.
But when pickiness is extreme to one food or food group, things get complicated.
How to Deal with a Picky Eater
I think part of me is very sympathetic because I was a picky eater. Probably not by today’s standards because back when I was a kid, we just ate stuff we didn’t like. That was what was expected.
Although, I can remember one meal where I sat in front of a garbanzo casserole for several hours refusing to eat. Please don’t mention to my mom that the dog eventually was coaxed into eating the last few daunting bites.
With my boys there are enough daily battles. I didn’t need to have food be an additional one. There is only one meal a day that they are to eat what everyone else eats – dinner. I figure they aren’t going to starve because they can eat things they like for the other meals as long as they prepare it.
Each eats something different for breakfast. Each is in charge of making their own lunch with my assistance. These are the times that they can get filled up on things they like within the guidelines of what we have in the house.
To Snack or Not to Snack?
Snacks in my house are a double edged sword. My kids love to snack, but it always seems to affect the subsequent meal. On the other hand, they seem to welcome a bigger of variety of food for snacks.
I have found that I can sneak fruit and veggies in at snack time that wouldn’t be accepted at a meal. I just am cautious about when they are allowed to snack because a late afternoon snack will keep them from eating a dinner that they don’t absolutely love.
Give In or Fight the Pickiness?
I think this is really going to be a case by case basis. One of my kids only ate PB&J for several months straight. I asked our family doctor when I took him in about it and he said not to worry because it is a pretty balanced meal for a 4 year old.
My youngest doesn’t like bread or cheese so his Kindergarten lunches were a challenge until I figured out that I could make a double batch of oatmeal in the morning for him to eat for breakfast and split it into a thermos that would keep it warm until lunch. He ate warm oatmeal every day for lunch that year. I can think of many food that are less nutritional, so I just let it be.
Will They Be Picky Forever?
Maybe. But maybe not. My oldest son was extremely picky as a younger child, but now at the age of 13 he is the most adventurous eater in the family. He has enjoyed watching many of the Food Network TV shows and learned to enjoy fine dining and unique cuisine. It is a shock to me to have him order something when we are out that I wouldn’t even try!
Getting the Right Food In
But there are stages and I feel like our goal is to guide them through them as gently as possible providing as many options as we can. Since my boys all love smoothies, I can get some things into those that they wouldn’t eat off their plate. I don’t do a lot of “food hiding” because I think that is a lot of work for low reward, but by continually putting good choices in front of them, they will eventually be lead…I hope!
Another thing that is works well for us is limited choices. The kids don’t really realize it is limited because it is their choice, but the house is strategically stocked with stuff I don’t mind them eating. Check out the snack stations for fridge and pantry for more ideas.
–He may have textural issues or over tasting issues.
–I would back off. You cannot win this one. Don’t reward eating and don’t sweat it when he doesn’t eat. Just keep offering the healthy variety you are already offering and don’t worry about the pickiness.
–I have a daycare and we have a rule (without consequences) that you try one bite for every year you are old (the most is five).
–Let it go. Make sure he takes a vitamin every day, stays hydrated and try and sneak in an Ensure drink.
–I recommend a pediatrician. You need to know for sure if he’s indeed being fussy or if it’s something else. You also need to be sure he is getting what he needs to thrive (nutrition). You cannot make a solid plan of action until you know what is going on first. I know from experience; my son has issues forming food in his mouth to swallow and is extremely sensitive to textures because of it. We have an occupational therapist working with us now.
These are some of our favorite books to help us handle a picky eater:
Links below are affiliate and support Kids Activities Blog.
The Picky Eating Solution By Deborah Kennedy
Getting to YUM By Karen Le Billon
Deceptively Delicious By Jessica Seinfeld – This is an amazing cook book that shows you how to sneak in healthy food in your kids favorite meals.
Here are even more great articles for you about dealing with a picky eater:
10 Tips for Picky Eaters From Mayo Clinic
Help With Picky Eaters From My Life and Kids
Taste Test Chart From B-Inspired Mama. This is a really neat way to get kids to try new things!