My first born child was a picky eater. It came to a point when we had to sit at the dinner table for two hours just so he could finish his food. So when our second baby was born I was determined not to make the same mistake. When Zack turned 6 months we started introducing him to cereals. We had a good start. He seemed to like his cereals.
But that didn’t last long. Soon he would eat less and less. Afraid that he wouldn’t get the nutrition he needed I began prodding him to eat more. It backfired badly. Pretty soon he didn’t even want to sit on his chair. Then I realized I was doing the exact same thing I did with my firstborn. So I changed my approach right away. Now, my baby is 1 year old. I can proudly say he is a happy eater. His last meal was a plate full of a combination of spaghetti, corn, and banana. I couldn’t be happier. I shudder when I think that I am just a few actions away from turning my second child into another picky eater.
Picky Eater Recipes
Picky eaters are made. If you are looking for picky eater recipes or food for picky eaters you are just fueling this behavior. I didn’t cook any special food for my children. I just changed my approach. Remember my first born who had the unfortunate luck of being born to a first time mother? I applied what I learned with him and he’s now a happy eater too. Since I can’t go to one of the California culinary schools anytime soon, I have come up with my own tips.
How to deal with Picky Eaters
When my baby had a bout with viral infection he ate even less. Our doctor said to make him eat anything he wants. “Well, he seemed to like french fries,” I muttered. “Then do it!” the doctor ordered. I cringed. The last thing I wanted to do was to feed my baby greasy french fries. But I had no choice so I did. He ate it. We were saved from a large bill from the hospital. And this mom learned an important lesson. So how did I deal with my picky eaters?
- Throw away the spoon. Let your baby eat with his hands. He loves putting things in his mouth anyway. It’s going to be messy for sure but that’s just a small sacrifice on your part.
- Serve picky eaters their favorite food. Is there one particular food he likes? Chicken nuggets, hotdogs, spaghetti, or fries? Then serve it to him everyday, every meal. Don’t worry about the nutrients he’s getting. This is just a start. In order for him to like eating he must associate it with something good first like seeing his favorite meals served at the dinner table.
- Ignore leftovers. He’s eating his favorites but there are leftovers. Ignore it. When he he’s full, respect it. It doesn’t matter if he only ate half on his plate. Chances are he’ll be back for more. It could be an hour later or maybe two but he’ll be hungry again. 90% of the time he is and would gladly eat again.
- Mix old with the new. The best way to introduce new (read: healthy) food is if it’s paired with his favorites. For my baby I would serve sliced banana (his all time fave) mixed with sliced papaya. Yesterday he threw the papaya but today one slice landed in his mouth. It’s a small success but in time I know he’s going to love it. For older children you’ll have to be more patient. It may take ten tries but it’s worth it.
- Set a good example. Yesterday, my eldest son declared, “I miss eating ampalaya (bitter gourd). Can we have that for tomorrow, Mommy?” I was so shocked I was actually speechless for a few seconds. How did my picky eater child become an ampalaya eating alien? It actually had something to do with his Dad whom he adored. Whenever we’re having vegetables he would loudly say, “Oh no, not vegetables!” When he realized how his behavior was affecting our son’s eating habits he began to change. Now he’ll say something positive like, “Wow, I love veggies!” and promptly have a serving. Our eldest was curious to hear something new from his dad. He didn’t eat ampalaya right away but he did allow me to put it in his plate. This incident happened just two months ago. Now you know how what happened next.
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