Expanding Picky Palates
One thing you’ll learn quickly as a parent is that even young children have unique palates. From my experience with six kids of my own, it can be extremely difficult when every child wants something different for dinner. So what do you do? Well I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, and I hope they’ll work for you too.
Make Food Kid Friendly: When you’re introducing something new to your child make sure you make it kid friendly in one way or another. That doesn’t mean you need to deep fry it with a side of ketchup, it simply means you need to get creative with your display by making the food fun to eat or to be creative with spices to make the food enticing to your child. Kids like to dip things, so giving them a special cup or low-fat Ranch or a special sauce can often help them eat their vegetables. I also suggest making faces or creatures out of food to make them more desirable and kid friendly!
Ring the Dinner Bell: When it’s dinnertime make sure everyone comes to the table and the television set gets turned off. TV can distract kids at dinnertime making them less likely to eat their food and more likely to munch a few items while starring at the screen. Additionally when everyone is at the table eating, trying or enjoying the same foods your children will be more likely to try something new when they see their parents eating it or their siblings eating it, too.
Reinvent Your Own Palate: Your children watch and observe you, as a parent, every single day. If you’re eating potato chips and cookies, that will become normal to your children who will in turn want to eat potato chips and cookies. If you’re struggling with a picky eater I’d suggest taking a look in the mirror to see if there’s anything you can change to be a healthier eater. When you transition into eating healthier foods with more fruits and vegetables, your child will take notice of that and likely have an easier transition as well.
Be Patient: If your child simply WILL NOT eat anything aside from pickles and mustard then I suggest taking them to the doctor to see if they’re experiencing trouble chewing or something of that nature. Remember to be patient; your child’s pickiness could very well be a short phase that is simple to supplement with a vitamin and protein rich drink like Pediasure.
It’s important to keep trying and not to give up; remember that every child is different. Your children will come around eventually, and, personally, I always enjoy the opportunity to get creative with my cooking and food presentation.
Daddy Nickell, father of 6, founder of Daddyscrubs.com and the Daddyscrubs parenting blog.