Having a picky eater at home is challenging and can be extremely stressful. Trust me, I know. But with time and a lot of patience, your picky eater can slowly be open to trying more diverse and healthy foods. Below, I’m sharing my plan for helping your picky eater slowly try new foods. One thing is for sure, we are all in this together and will patience your picky eater will be able to experience and try new staples in no time!
- Try one new food per day: Picky eaters have certain rules about what they don’t like — often without having tried the food that they don’t like. While that is frustrating, you can’t force them to try it. Focus on one food that is perhaps connected to a food that they do like. Say they love French fries but are fussy about other ways to enjoy potatoes. Start small by trying something similar like homemade roasted potatoes with seasonings. These “gateway” foods can open them up to similar ways to enjoy their favorite dishes that you slowly alter as you try new versions of it eg: roasted potatoes with a cashew sauce and so on.
- Focus on the bite: As they are hopefully trying new food, the main focus is really on the bite (yes, we are starting small). Getting them exposed to new tastes and textures starts with a bite, even if it’s teeny tiny at first.
- Make a chart: Trying new foods takes time with a picky eater. Create a chart where they can see their progress and how they have evolved. You can also offer a small prize that makes sense for you and your family.
- Stay consistent: One of the hardest aspects of picky eating is the work on your part. You have to be extremely consistent and focused, especially since a lot of emotions are involved in trying to get a picky eater to try something new.
- Lower your expectations: This is a hard one, but a lot of parents with picky eaters think that their child will instantly love (insert healthy food here) if they try it. It can take months (and even years) for a picky eater to consistently eat the food that they “hate” and may never even really learn to like it.
- Don’t compare: Often in sibling relationships, you might have one child who isn’t picky and the other who doesn’t like certain foods. Realize that every child is unique and comparing them to another child won’t help the situation. In some instances, it might even push the picky eater to rebel even more and not try the food you have been wanting them to eat.