Picky Eater Problems: What to Feed a Picky Toddler
There are picky eaters and picky toddlers.
The pickiest of the picky bunch is a picky toddler who will only eat things that they can hold in their hand, or at least what looks like something they would be able to hold in their hand.
This article talks about picky eater problems and how to feed a picky toddler.
What Is A Picky Eater?
A picky eater is someone who will only eat a very small amount of food.
They may also be picky about the types of foods that they want to eat or have specific likes and dislikes, such as "I don't like ketchup."
Picky eating can happen at any age but it's often most common with younger children.
What causes a picky eater?
In picky eating, there may be many different causes. One of the most common is a sensory issue which means that they don't like certain foods because it has been associated with an unpleasant experience such as being too spicy or tasting bad.
You can also have picky eaters who are just very particular about what they want to eat and pick out foods that they like and refuse to eat anything else.
How do you know if you have a picky eater?
Picky eaters have unique preferences that are different.
A picky eater may also feel overwhelmed by the huge variety of food choices in front of them, which can make it difficult for them to pick something or even know what is safe to take from a buffet restaurant.
You will need to test out new food at every meal, and it may take a picky eater two to five tries before they finally enjoy the taste.
Picky eaters can also be pickier about textures than flavours; for example, some picky eaters will only touch certain foods with their hands or refuse to swallow anything that doesn't melt in their mouth.
Is It bad to be a picky eater?
The picky eater is not in the wrong; they are just being picky.
There are a high number of picky eaters, and it is important to recognise that this does not mean there is anything wrong with them-they may simply have different tastes than most people!
There is no "bad" way to be picky.
The picky eater is not in the wrong; they are just being picky.
There are a high number of picky eaters, and it is important to recognize that this does not mean there is anything wrong with them-they may simply have different tastes than most people!
Is Picky Eating Genetic?
No, picky eating is not generic, picky eating is a habit that starts in childhood.
There are many things which can lead to picky eating, like the environment and social factors-the picky eater may be surrounded by food they do not want or have been exposed to repeated rejections from their family while trying new foods.
Parents themselves may exhibit pickiness when it comes to food, which can lead to picky eating in their child.
Parents should try not to be picky about what they feed themselves and their children-alternating between different foods is a good idea for picky eaters so that there are new flavors coming into the diet on an ongoing basis!
It's important for parents to be patient, but also try not to make it a big deal every time there is an issue.
Parents should keep in mind that pickiness can have many causes and children often grow out of picky eating habits-so if they don't get worse over time then hopefully pickiness will eventually go away.
Tips on encouraging those fussy eaters in your family to try new foods
- Picky eaters may be more receptive to sampling new foods if they are associated with a pleasant experience, such as eating the food while being read an interesting story.
- You can offer healthy options like homemade yogurt or fruit purees that can easily be added to their favorite cereal at breakfast time.
- Let picky eaters have some control over the foods they eat by offering them a pick or so from different food groups.
- Offer them one bite of new food followed by something familiar to encourage exploration and acceptance.
- When introducing new flavors, it is best not to overwhelm with too many unfamiliar tastes at once; instead, introduce each flavour separately on its own day.
- They need to be given the chance to explore and accept new foods; this is achieved by presenting it in different ways, such as adding a small amount of sauce that they enjoy or cutting food into shapes with which are familiar to them.
- They don't necessarily dislike a certain food, they may just need more time to get used to it and learn about its taste or texture.
- Avoid trying to force them into eating something they don't like, let them pick from their favourite food choices
- Offer an appetizer of a new dish (this will increase odds they'll like it)
- Allow them to help prepare the meal (maybe even making it themselves)
- Offer smaller portions, but more of them
- Be patient and understanding. Kids pick up cues from their parents so if they see you eating something that seems tasty to them, then chances are when it's offered again in the future they'll be more receptive to trying it out.
What are healthy foods for picky eaters?
- Fruits or vegetables with a creamy texture.
- Eggs, oatmeal, and other hard foods are easy to pick up on the fork without it squishing against their mouth.
- Some people say adding a little salt can help picky eaters enjoy new tastes better (but be careful because too much will
- Baked potato skins are a great pick for picky eaters because they can mash them with their hands so there's no need to use utensils.
- Try vegetables disguised as other things like mashed potatoes, pizza toppings, or casseroles.
- Mix small amounts of new foods in their favorite dishes and sauces to keep it a secret from picky eaters.
- Food with a crunch might be easier to pick up for some picky eaters because the texture makes them want to bite it, instead of pushing it around their mouth.
- Dips make any food more enjoyable and are perfect for picky eaters who don't like certain textures but love to dip.
So, it's clear that picky eaters can be difficult. It also seems like they are just going to have to grow up and learn how to eat some new foods eventually.
But for now, we want them to eat something!
The best way is by offering one bite of a new food followed by an old favorite in the hopes that this will provide enough exposure for the child’s taste buds to get used to these flavors.
The trick is to offer an appetizer of a new dish, and let them help prepare the meal.
Once they've tried it themselves you can give them more freedom with their food choices as well as make sure that what they are eating is healthy for them.
What are your tricks?
Share with us below so other parents can benefit from your experience in dealing with picky eater problems!
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