I’ll admit it; I have to deal with a picky eater at every meal.
Who is this picky eat you may ask?
My 3 year old of course!
Although some days I want to bang my head against the wall at mealtime, picky eating is a normal part of childhood development.
However, if you are trying to feed your child healthy food this can become frustrating if your child is refusing it.
What can you do to overcome this?
First, let’s discuss the characteristics of a picky eater.
- Eats fewer than 30 foods
- Will eat the same favorite food every day, but will eventually burn out and stop eating the food. Then they’ll start eating their favorite again after about two weeks
- Tolerates new foods on their plate and are willing to touch or taste the food
- Are willing to eat a new food after they have been exposed to it ten or more times
That’s right I said 10 or more times.
Children often put their noses up to new foods but as a parent it takes patience and persistence.
Sometimes you have to prepare/present the food in different ways and also accept the fact that they sometimes just won’t eat it.
Picky eaters are different from problem feeders which typically require the help of a multidisciplinary feeding team.
Problem eaters tend to eat fewer than twenty foods, have vitamin/mineral deficiencies and difficulty gaining adequate amounts of weight.
Children with special needs can often be picky eaters or problem feeders depending on any sensory, behavioral and/or motor skill problems they may have.
I am not ashamed to admit I have hidden plenty of vegetables and other healthy ingredients in my child’s meals without their knowing.
Makenzie is unable to use utensils herself so we rely a lot on finger foods for her to be able to eat independently.
Many picky eaters/problem feeders prefer finger foods as opposed to having to use utensils which require more concentration and motor skills.
With that said, I find I can get Makenzie to accept more foods if she is able to eat it with her fingers because this makes her less frustrated at meal time.
Creating a pleasant meal environment is important when trying to get your child to accept different foods.
Again, I realize this can be a tiresome process but persistence is key.
Try out new recipes and don’t’ be afraid to think outside the box.
Below is a recipe that is “Makenzie-approved” and also has lots of nutritious goodies in it. Hope you enjoy!
2 cups brown rice flour
¾ cup grated zucchini
¾ cup grated carrots
1 medium apple, cored and quartered
1/3 cup sugar or coconut palm sugar
¼ cup chia seeds
¼ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or line muffin tins
2. Grate zucchini, apple, and carrots. Place in towel and wring out excess water.
3. In a medium-size bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla, sugar, honey, applesauce, oil and grated fruits and vegetables.
4. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, chia seeds, ginger and baking soda until combined.
5. Scoop into muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.
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