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Picky Eater? You're not Alone

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Does your little one want plain pasta for dinner every night? 

Friday, May 26th, 2017

Or refuse to eat anything green? Toddlerhood can be challenging when it comes to setting up healthy eating habits for your child. Not all children are "picky eaters", but for some, picky eating may show up around age 2 as they experience developmental changes and become more independent. 

Take this interactive quiz to test your knowledge on handling your “Picky Eater.”

 

TRUTH OR MYTH QUIZ

Question 1 of 4: Truth or Myth?  In saying “no” to what Mum and Dad want her to eat, a child is expressing her independence.  

Bravo!

You're right, by refusing to eat what Mum and Dad want her to eat, a child is simply showing that she has her own thoughts and opinions. It's a normal developmental step on the way to becoming independent. She might just need to check it out a few times before eating it. Some experts say a child may need to be offered a food up to 8 times before she’ll decide to eat it.

Not at all!

You're right, by refusing to eat what Mum and Dad want him to eat, a child is simply showing that he has his own thoughts and opinions. It's a normal developmental step on the way to becoming independent. He might just need to check it out a few times before eating it. Some experts say a child may need to be offered a food up to 8 times before he’ll decide to eat it.

No Need for Pressure

Remember not to pressure your toddler into eating. Just continue to offer a healthy selection of foods each snack or mealtime. She may soon become used to and accept healthy foods that the rest of the family eats.

 

Question 2 of 4: Truth or Myth?  Picky eating today means picky eating tomorrow.   

You're right.

Although some children remain “picky” for years, your child’s picky eating may just be a phase. There are lots of things you can do to get through this time when your child may seem set on his food preferences. Set the stage; be patient, and give him some control (see the full list of action steps you can take here). A lot of parents have been in the same boat and found that it was just a phase!

Don't despair!

Although some children remain “picky” for years, your child’s picky eating may just be a phase. There are lots of things you can do to get through this time when your child may seem set on his food preferences. Set the stage; be patient, and give him some control (see the full list of action steps you can take here). A lot of parents have been in the same boat and found that their child soon accepted many foods.

Patience is key

If your Toddler rejects a food, it might just be that she doesn’t recognize it. Children are “neophobic,” meaning they’re afraid of anything new and prefer eating foods they’re used to. Instead of giving up on a rejected food, try preparing it in a different way and offering it again.

 

Question 3 of 4: Truth or Myth?  You should set a time limit for your child at the table.

You're right, not a good idea.

Give your picky eater time to chew, swallow, and even play a bit with new food. Playing with food is part of learning about it, which helps her feed herself. Rushing her takes the fun out of eating and adds stress. For both of you!

Oops, not a good idea.

Give your picky eater time to chew, swallow, and even play a bit with new food. Playing with food is part of learning about it, which helps her feed herself. Rushing her takes the fun out of eating and adds stress. For both of you!

 

Question 4 of 4: Truth or Myth? Letting your picky eater pick out a fruit or veggie at the grocery store can work wonders. 

It's true.

Try letting your Toddler pick out a fruit or veggie at the grocery store, and then let him help you prepare it. Children are more likely to try foods they help prepare, especially a child who is fighting to assert his independence.

Sorry, that one's true.

Try letting your Toddler pick out a fruit or veggie at the grocery store, and then let him help you prepare it. Children are more likely to try foods they help prepare, especially a child who is fighting to assert his independence.

 

Action steps to curb pickiness

Two factors may contribute to your Toddler’s picky eating: her environment, and, of course, her food. There are lots of things you can do! Here are some instantly implementable tips to help curb your child's pickiness:

Set the stage

  • Create a calm environment during mealtime by turning off the TV.
  • Keep her tray simple by limiting the amount of bowls, spoons, and cups. Too many things in sight can overwhelm her and leave her uninterested in eating.
  • Use familiar objects at the table—seeing the same bib, bowl, and utensils may be comforting to your Toddler.
  • Sit down at the table to eat as a family and include her in the conversation.
  • Your child's appetite fluctuates from meal to meal, and day to day.  Don't be overly concerned if he doesn't eat the amount you think he needs.  Show him you respect his hunger and fullness cues.
  • Avoid pressuring your child to eat. Your role is to decide what foods to offer and when to offer them, but let your child decide whether to eat and how much to eat.
  • Include a food she’s used to in each meal, then let her choose if she wants to try the other foods on her tray.
  • Don’t prepare a separate meal—it could encourage her to continue this type of behaviour at mealtime.
  • Serve smaller-sized portions (1 to 2 tablespoons)—large portions may overwhelm him.
  • Give him time to chew, swallow, and even play a bit with new food. Playing with food is part of learning about it. Rushing her takes fun out of eating and adds stress.
  • Embrace the mess! It will make the feeding experience more pleasant for you and your baby. Let him explore even if it gets messy—toddlers often need to look at, touch, smell, and taste a food before eating it.
  • Be patient. If your Toddler rejects a food, it might just be that she doesn’t recognize it.

Don't give up on a rejected food, try preparing it a different way and offering it again.

  •  Serve a variety of healthy foods, and set a good example by eating them yourself. If a child sees his mum, dad, or siblings eating a nutritious food, he may be more willing to try it.
  • Don’t bribe her with sweets. This teaches her that some foods are desirable while others aren’t.
  • Be realistic. Your child may never love Brussels sprouts. But you can help him learn the joy of trying new foods at the dinner table.

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