Many parents worry about their children not eating enough healthy food. But getting kids to eat can be a challenge for even the most experienced parent. Picky eating is common among young children, but it can also continue into adolescence and even adulthood. At first glance, it might seem like a kid who won’t eat anything is just being stubborn or uncooperative. But there are good reasons why kids have limited dietary interests and are unwilling to try new things. Your child is not being stubborn or uncooperative – they are just different from you! It’s important to remember that everyone has different tastes and preferences and that what your kid won’t eat now doesn’t mean they won’t ever like it. Pending on the age of your child, here are some ideas for how you can get them to eat more:
Be Patient and Stay Calm
One of the most important things you can do is to remain patient and calm. Having a meltdown over your child’s eating habits will only make things worse. When you get frustrated, you will be less likely to hear your child’s reasons for not eating and more likely to demand that they eat. This can easily lead to power struggles at mealtime and make your child feel anxious and stressed. Instead of getting upset, try to understand why your child might not be hungry for certain foods. For example, if you’ve just had a big meal, you’re probably not hungry for dessert right away either. No one is hungry for everything at every meal. Most kids usually need to be reminded to eat enough.
Serve a Variety of Foods
One of the best ways to get your child to eat more nutritious food is to serve a variety of different foods at each meal. Most kids try new foods if they’re offered a selection that they can choose from. If you try to make your child eat something they don’t like or aren’t interested in, they are far less likely to try it. The more often you offer your child a variety of different foods, the more likely they are to find something they like. You will also be setting them up for lifelong healthy eating habits.
Let Your Child Help to Prepare Food
Another great way to get your child to be more willing to try new foods is to let them help to prepare it. Letting your child chop vegetables for a salad, crack eggs for baking, or pour milk into a bowl can help them feel more invested in the meal. Kids are much more likely to try something when they feel like it’s theirs. Cooking together can also be a great way to spend time with your child and help them to feel more connected to the family mealtime.
Don’t be a short-order cook
A short-order cook is someone who only makes what they want to eat, and nothing else. To try to get your picky eater to eat more, you have to be a short-order cook. What this means is that you have to be prepared to make your child’s food exactly the way they want it. This can be exhausting and frustrating both for you and your child.
Establish Mealtime Rituals
Another way to get your child to try more food is to establish some mealtime rituals. Rituals are simply a way to make your child feel more comfortable and connected to family mealtime. One way to do this is to make sure everyone sits down and eats the same meal together whenever possible. Another is to make sure to have a positive and pleasant atmosphere at the table. Take a few minutes to sit quietly with your child and eat while they are still young enough to appreciate it.
Talk With Your Child About Food
Finally, another great way to get your child to try more food is to talk with them about food. Explain to your child that all food has nutrients that are good for them and help them grow big and strong. Teaching your child about food and how it is grown and prepared is a great way to get them interested in trying new things. If you can engage your child and get them interested in the foods you’re eating, it will be much more likely that they will want to try them.
Finding the right diet for your child
If you are dealing with a child who is underweight and/or has feeding issues, it is important to see a pediatrician to make sure there aren’t any medical issues. A pediatrician can help you to find the right diet for your child. Once you have ruled out any medical issues, you may want to try a dietary intervention such as the MEND™ diet. The MEND™ diet is a nutritionally balanced diet designed to help kids who have feeding issues. There are many reasons why a child may have feeding issues and the diet can help to correct them. The MEND™ diet prescribes a balanced nutritional intake of essential fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. It is important to note that the MEND™ diet does not suggest any specific foods. This means that you can make your child’s diet as unique as they are.
Getting your child to eat more nutritious food is a challenge for every parent. One of the best ways to get your child to eat more is to offer a variety of different foods. Letting your child help to prepare food can also be helpful. Don’t be a short-order cook; instead, let your child make their food the way they want it. Finally, you can talk with your child about food and what foods have nutrients in them. When you have ruled out any medical issues, you may want to try a dietary intervention such as the MEND™ diet.