According to the latest research from the University of Guelph in Ontario, nearly half of parents identify their pre-schoolers as picky eaters. And if you're reading this, there's a good chance you're one of them. Welcome to the club!
While family meal times should be seen as a social occasion, it can be fraught with battles for parents and child alike. From fussy eating to picky eating, from being too distracted by the TV, to demanding to eat on the ‘big table’ - the nuisances and challenges vary from parent to parent.
What do to if your child is a fussy eater?If you live with a fussy eater, here's some steps that might help:
- Involve kids in preparing meals
Other times, you might want to get your pre-schooler to chop up some of the ingredients (under supervision), or use a cookie cutter to make some shapes. Pizzas, dough balls, cookies and cakes are all fun interactive foods to cook together. Allow them to serve their own food on their favourite children’s plate, under your watchful eye, to make them more inclined to want to try it.
- Make mealtimes fun
Munchy Play children’s plates were created to invite children to the dinner table and keep them entertained with dining at the focus.
- Offer praise
- Healthy Alternatives
This doesn’t however mean this has to be junk. A homemade pizza using a pitta bread base with fresh vegetables is a great meal for a toddler, baked sweet-potato chips are higher in vitamins than regular potatoes and make a delicious alternative to fries. Instead of a greasy burger, why not make a homemade patty using finely chopped vegetables like carrots, mushrooms and peppers.
- Mealtimes as a family
While this can be particularly challenging, with the varying times that children eat among other factors, it could be helpful trying to have a family meal together at least once during a weekend, to see if this improves your child’s mealtime behaviour.
- Repeat Exposure
So there you have it, some handy tips for getting you through those challenging early years.