We all know a few foods that we could happily never eat again. However, some kids can be very picky eaters and may refuse to even eat food they have never tasted before. Here is a quick guide to picky eaters and how you can encourage them to try more food.
Why Kids Are Picky Eaters
Fussy or picky eating habits in children can make parents worry that their kids will be malnourished. However, disliking certain food such as raisins will not be detrimental to their health. If a kid dislikes a certain food, it may be fine to respect their tastes.
However, it can be difficult if they decide to opt-out of an entire food group. For instance, if your child refuses to eat vegetables ever again, it could prevent them from getting a ton of important nutrients in their diet.
Firstly, we need to assess whether your child is picky or just does not like certain foods. We cannot compare if you like a certain sour or bitter food and your child does not because adults are more tolerant of those flavors.
However, the parents of a child could be a huge reason why a child is a picky eater. Kids often follow by example, so if they notice that you often say you dislike a certain food and refuse to eat it, they may think that they can do that without even trying a certain food first.
Additionally, it may not be common for them to try new food, which could easily make them hesitant to broaden their horizons. If they are used to eating the same food every day, they may not see any reason why they should try new food when they think they know what they like.
Other than not having enough new experiences, they may have some bad food experiences. For instance, if a person forced them to try a new food that they did not want to eat in the first place and greatly disliked it, they may be hesitant to try new food.
Importance of a Balanced Diet
It is crucial that children have balanced and healthy diets because it is full of essential nutrients that are important for their development. Some examples of nutrients that children should have are calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin C, etc.
A risk of having a picky eater who refuses to eat certain food groups is malnutrition. Malnutrition could have many side effects, such as poor school performance and an inability to focus or learn.
Additionally, malnourishment in children can greatly impact their development. Malnourished children often have stunted growth, anemia, vulnerability to diseases, etc.
The effects of malnutrition can carry into adulthood. Some things that undernourished children can get as adults are cardiovascular issues, diabetes, obesity, etc.
How to Boost Their Appetite and Encourage New Eating Habits
When you want your kid to try out new food, we suggest that you do not force them to finish an entire plate of it because that can be more daunting than the food itself. Instead, you can offer your child a few bites of the new dish to help them learn if they like the taste or not.
As mentioned earlier, a child may be fussy about eating because they see how you react to food. It is important to be an example and show your kids that you are willing to try new foods or give old ones a second chance. That way, they will know that trying out new food is not a bad thing.
You can also share responsibilities with your child at mealtime. You can control when, where, and what food is provided while your child will be in control of how much they want to eat and what they want to eat.
With that being said, if your child says that they do not want to eat any of the food on the table, you should resist the urge to whip up new food you know they will like. That will encourage their picky behavior and expect that they will only eat food that they are familiar with.
Additionally, you may want to make mealtimes more enjoyable. It would be best to minimize distractions at the dinner table and offer a clean and pleasant environment to eat in. In addition to that, you can also offer a pleasant conversation to make your child look forward to each meal.
You can also learn how to respect any eating quirks that they may have. For instance, if they only want to eat the florets of the broccoli and not the stems, you can respect that. If they want to avoid eating the crust of the sandwiches, you can cut them off. That way, they will feel like they have control over what they eat and you will know that they are not totally eliminating food from their diet.
Should I Give My Child Multivitamins?
If you are worried about your child’s nutrition, you might be wondering if you should give them multivitamins or supplements. However, they are not always needed for all children.
If your children have a balanced diet, they can get most of their nutrients from healthy foods. Additionally, just because your child is a picky eater does not mean that they have a nutrient deficiency. Additionally, overdosing on minerals and vitamins can be toxic or affect other medication that is being taken.
The only way to know for sure if your child is malnourished is by consulting a pediatrician. They should be able to recommend a nutritious diet for your child and will prescribe multivitamins and supplements if necessary.
A fussy eater can be hard to handle. Luckily, there are many simple ways you can encourage your child to try out new food and expand their palate.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.