Is there a Straight Answer to Handling a Picky Eater?
It’s a tale as old as time. Except this one is a little more frustrating than most. Is getting your kids to try new foods or eat what is in front of them more of a chore than it should be? If yes, I might have a solution for you.
A recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, suggests that the stricter you are with your kid's eating habits the more likely they are to resist trying new things. Basically, having certain rules for trying new foods can backfire. That’s not to say that rules won’t work; there are just other ways to go about getting your kids to eat what is in front of them.
There are a few suggestions that are pretty good options. First and foremost is being persistent with certain food. Now, this doesn’t mean begging your kid to try it but just having it on the dinner table often can help. It will help send the message that that particular food item is good. Another option, and a true classic, is showing how much you like the food. This a good way to “normalize” the food item and kids can see it’s actually okay to eat.
As a kid, I was the world’s pickiest eater. If it wasn’t peanut butter and jelly or hotdogs, I wanted no part of it. So, I spent many nights at the dinner table staring at a spoonful of cold peas wishing they would just go away so I could get up. I can only imagine what a pain that must have been for my parents. Believe me, I hated it just as much as they did.
I know I’m not a parent (and my opinion on this should be taken with a grain of salt) but I think you need a good mixture of easy-going and strict. If your kid just is persistent on not trying something, I think it’s okay to (no pun intended) table it for another time. However, if you think they would really like something it’s okay to keep nudging them on it. Because trust me when I tell you I WAS the world’s pickiest eater. I emphasize was because NOW I really like all foods. That’s thanks to some clever trickery from my parents and a little tough love here and there.