What should we do for a picky eater?
- To encourage healthy eating habits in children offer small serves of food. Your child can always ask for a second helping.
- Healthy eating can be promoted through offering a variety of foods to children from a very young age.
Children may reject a new food the first or second time it is offered, but keep persisting as a new food will soon become a ‘usual’ food and so become a normal part of a child’s healthy diet. Be aware that there may be some foods that your child will never eat.
Involving your child in shopping, meal planning and cooking can help develop healthy eating habits by promoting a positive attitude to a healthy diet. Simple activities for young children such as getting spoons out of the drawer or asking them to stir a bowl can help develop their understanding of a nutritious diet.
- Talk to your children about different fruits and vegetables, such as where they grow and how you prepare or cook them. Knowledge of the foods they are eating, can encourage healthy eating habits for children. Make sure all members of your family are adopting healthy eating habits. If parents and older siblings model healthy eating, younger children are more likely to adopt the behaviour
- Use positive terms to refer to healthy food, for example, “I love eating crunchy green beans”.
- Make eating a social occasion. Turn off the television and talk about the day.
- Breakfast is the most important time for healthy eating. Children function better when they begin the day with a nutritious meal. Some examples of healthy breakfast meals are wholegrain cereal with fruit, yoghurt and milk, wholemeal toast with mashed banana and a glass of milk, or a poached egg with wholemeal toast fingers followed by cut up apple pieces.
- Avoid bribing your child with food.