Do you have a picky eater that won’t eat green foods? Or how about a child that only wants to eat pasta, bread, cheese… you know; bland colored foods? This post covers how to introduce a variety of colorful foods when you have picky eaters.
If school lunches is your issue because everything comes home uneaten, let’s check out this video with school lunch ideas for picky eaters.
And you know that? That’s ok. In today’s post, I want to share with you to how to introduce colorful foods into your meals; both dinner and lunch.
What to do when your kid only eats a few foods
Many of the parents in our MOMables community struggle because “one day my kid will eat something and then a few days later they won’t.” Or, “my kid will only want to eat a food for a few days at a time, nothing else.”
Typically, this includes only beige or white, creamy yellow or orange. If your child’s eating habits center around bread, cheese, pasta, milk, rice, chicken nuggets, potatoes, and not much else -aside from a few other items your child has deemed to be “safe” to eat- this can be an issue nutritionally.
One of the best ways to introduce a new food is to simply offer it. Often. Repeatedly. I am talking about placing said food on the table and providing the child the option to try it without placing it on their plate.
I know this is extremely difficult for many parents. But it’s important to eliminate the pressure of trying a food a child has set their mind to not eating. At this point, your child is trying to assert his independence and keep their ground.
Learning how to eliminate pressure from mealtimes is something that we cover in our Picky Eaters Course. When pressure is removed from mealtimes, a child becomes secure enough and stops trying to ask for the attention they desire at the table, allowing for an open mind to participate in the foods that are served.
There are 3 steps to getting more foods onto the plate:
1. Place the food at the table.
That’s right. Do not put the food on the plate.
2. Offer the child said food.
Do not ask your child to “take a bite” or “taste the food.” Simply, offer “would you like to try these parmesan green bean fries? If they say no, then leave it alone. Ask once, and move on. Then, plate yourself the food and when eating it, make the comment “these are delicious. Maybe next time.”
3. Make the food again, in a different way.
Most parents say that they try to get their child to eat broccoli and that they make it all the time. However, the truth is that while they are making broccoli often, it’s most often by throwing a microwavable and steaming it.
If your child isn’t open to trying steamed broccoli after half a dozen offers –note that I didn’t say asking them to take a bite- it’s time to try it a different way.
Is my picky eater getting enough nutrition?
Many parents give the child a multivitamin and mineral supplement to make up for any nutritional deficiencies their child might get getting in their diet. While supplements are helpful and often important, most of us know that it’s important for some nutrition to come directly from food.
The more colorful the food, the more vitamins and minerals it will have. Foods down in the ground will have more minerals and tree-grown foods tend to have more vitamins.
Other concerns include getting enough fiber since many of the kid-favorite white foods contain very little. If you need to incorporate more fiber into your child’s diet, try our High Fiber Chocolate Lunchbox Bites and High Fiber Chocolate Smoothie, for example.
Of course, it’s always best to talk to a medical professional to assess your child’s nutrition intake. However, don’t dismiss that mom gut feeling when it comes to your child. If teaching your child to taste new foods is important, check out our Picky Eaters Course.
It’s important to remember that kids are continuously learning from our behavior. It’s not often what we say but what we do and the best way to get any picky eater to accept a variety of foods is to make a variety of foods.
Not a day goes by that I don’t receive an email from a parent whose spouse doesn’t eat any vegetables. As in… “my spouse only wants meat and potatoes” for dinner. It always pains me to write “your child’s picky eating is a result of a parenting issue. This is something that must be discussed with your spouse.”
But you are here. You’ve read this far. You know how important it is to introduce new foods to your family’s meals; now it’s the time to take action and I’d love to show you how I taught my picky eaters to try new foods. It wasn’t a fast journey or easy, but the payoffs have been huge.