The Simple Trick That Gets Your Picky Eater To Eat
This is a guest post from Noelle Bryant, Motherhood & Lifestyle Blogger, KIDspiration Curator, and Total Mamarazzi.
Meal Time Showdown with Picky Eaters
Going into mealtime with a picky eater, you have to be mentally prepared for a showdown. If there is one power struggle a kid can win it’s just that: MEALTIME.
See, the fact about it is we CAN NOT make them eat. We just can’t physically do it. So the trick I have found is making them think it is their choice. By doing this you cut out that need for a power struggle from your toddler and give them the “control.” But now you’re probably asking how exactly are you supposed to make the meal THEIR idea without sacrificing the healthy component. Well, it is actually seamlessly easy with this simple trick I learned and it has worked beautifully for my girls (more specifically my super picky almost 3-year-old).
One main component to making this method, that I am about to explain, work is making sure you limit the child’s snack or milk intake before mealtime. If they filled up on snacks then it’s no wonder they won’t be hungry when it’s mealtime. For us, we do breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, a mid-afternoon snack (something smaller like fruit/veggies) then dinner. After dinner nothing else if offered until the next morning. For those of you wondering, “Well, what about dessert?” I’ve got that covered too!
The Simple Trick
When it comes to mealtime with picky eaters, give a few options. I like to put one thing I KNOW they like, one thing that is hit or miss and one thing I really want for them to eat. I basically give my child options (within reason). That includes dessert. They do not get dessert EVERY night but I do like to offer them it occasionally, as I truly believe that everything is okay in moderation. So at dinner, I will put their dessert on the same plate as the rest of the food. I hand them their plate and explain that this is their meal and that they can choose which order they would like to eat it in. One thing we really strive not to do is to bribe our girls to eat by offering dessert as a prize. To me, it mentally gives kids the wrong idea about the deliciousness of all kinds of foods and not just dessert.
By putting it on their plate with their dinner it just becomes a part of the meal and NOT a reward for eating their dinner. We make it known it’s a special thing because we don’t offer it every night BUT we still give them the option to choose which order they eat their food. We keep ALL of the options healthy. For example, we would offer: Hummus, vegetables, toast (which I know my daughter’s love) and apples. If it is a dessert time we still try to stick to products that aren’t filled with crazy dyes and things like that. We love ‘Enjoy Life’ products because they are gluten free and major allergen free (which is important to my oldest daughter who suffers from peanut & egg allergies).
For breakfast, it’s the same sort of thing. I would present oatmeal, fruit, and turkey bacon. I have found by having at least 3 options on the plate they seem to pick at it more and in the end they seem to eat more. I never force them to finish their plate either as I don’t want to mess up their natural body cues which tell them when they’re hungry or when they’re full. I do however keep that same plate of food available if they decide to come back an hour later saying they are hungry. Giving them options and a little control goes a long way!
I hope this idea is something you will try with your picky eater and I hope it works as well for you as it has for us! Enjoy!
Hello! I am Noelle of Oh Happy Play, a motherhood + kids lifestyle blog. I was honored when Delfina asked me to come do a guest post here and I couldn’t wait to do it. I am the mother of two young girls that are 16 months apart. When it comes to meal time we always want to choose the healthiest options for them but being toddlers they can be SO picky! So, I thought I would share with you, my simple trick to get your picky eater to EAT!