We hear from a lot of you that your kids are picky eaters. I have a picky kid, too. Our friends at FCPS’s Early Childhood Partnerships team have written a super helpful guide for parents of picky eaters. Read on for some practical advice and some current research. (Click here for a printable pdf.)
5 Things To Know:
- Children don’t need as much food as we might think. Children’s growth slows down during their preschool years after they experience a rapid growth spurt during their first year of life. It is normal for their appetite and need for calories to slow down as well.
- Don’t force it. Forcing a child to finish their food or try a new food will usually make them less likely to eat it and can cause them to associate meal time with negative feelings. These negative feelings can make them less sensitive to internal cues of hunger and fullness.
- Offer new foods often. A child usually needs to be exposed to a new food 10-15 times before trying it.
- Some children need to feel in control at meal time. Let children choose where each food is placed on their plate or let them serve themselves. A little bit of independence at meal time might help them feel more in control and increase their chances of trying new or different foods.
- Eat together as a family. Young children who sit down and eat meals with their families are more likely to develop healthy eating habits.
- Pickysaurus Mac by Sandra Miller Lin-hart: Pickysaurus Mac is not your typical dinosaur. Mealtimes pose a special problem for our picky little friend. Sometimes foods smell too gross to eat, they taste different than they look and their textures feel like garbage in his mouth.
- Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds: What happens at Nuthatcher Farm when the chickens get tired of the same old chicken feed? The rooster hatches a plan!
- Too Pickly by Jean Reidy: Too wrinkly, too squishy, too fruity, too fishy! It’s time to eat, but somebody doesn’t like a single item on his plate. What’s a picky eater to do?
- I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child: Lola is a fussy eater. A very fussy eater. She won’t eat her car-rots (until her brother Charlie reveals that they’re orange twiglets from Jupiter). She won’t eat her mashed potatoes (until Charlie explains that they’re cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji).
3 Links to Visit:
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Coping with Picky Eating Phases
- Zero to Three: How to Handle Picky Eaters
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: The Do’s and Don’ts of Feeding a Picky Eater
2 Points to Access Research:
1 Video to Watch: