If you’re the mom of an average toddler or preschooler, you are probably not a stranger to picky eaters. I got so lucky with my first child. There was really not much Addie wouldn’t eat. I can actually count on one hand the things she didn’t like. Cantaloupe was at the top of that list. I don’t much blame her for that because cantaloupe is foul. Piper, on the other hand, is probably your token picky eater.
From the day she was born, getting her to eat was a struggle. So I really wasn’t surprised that when we hit solids and finger foods she turned her nose up more times than not. She is two, and her palette is pretty much confined to candy, fruit and cheese. She makes it so easy.
So I thought I’d share a few tips because while it’s semi-comical, it’s also infuriating. Not to mention I am constantly worried about her nutrition as I’m sure other moms are as well.
Find the constant and build on it. Piper loves cheese. I don’t blame her, cheese is my favorite food group too, but for a long time that’s all she wanted. So instead of continuing to just give her a slice of cheese when she wanted it, I ventured out and discovered that she will also eat string cheese, cottage cheese and she loves yogurt. Branching out a little will give you a little room to play and create variation in their diet.
If sitting and eating is the problem, let them roam. I figured out after watching Piper that she’s a snack and run kind of girl. She would much rather have a bowl set out for her and come snack as she pleased. Yes, like a dog. Maybe it’s not a matter of disliking the food, maybe it’s that he or she just doesn’t want to sit and take the time to have a meal. Obviously there are things this doesn’t work with, like ravioli, but for the most part- it’s a method that has worked very well for us.
Piper loves these Lil Beanies from Gerber. They are the perfect snack for picky eaters because they are handheld and kids can’t detect the veggies! I got mine at Kroger in the original flavor and the White Cheddar & Broccoli flavor. They are definitely a snack you can feel good about giving your kids as well. They are nutritionally sound and made with no genetically modified ingredients.
Make it more fun. For me, eating is very easily the greatest part of any day, but for Piper that just isn’t so. She does however really love fruit kabobs and those mini finger food buffets you see on Pinterest. I can vouch, putting little snacks into an ice tray works miracles. Find a way to entertain while simultaneously filling those little bellies! One of Piper’s favorite food ‘games’ is to stab her fruit with a straw and eat it that way instead of using a fork. Chant with me: whatever works.
If your kiddo is like mine, they hate eating but will drink gallons of fluid each day. Piper pretty much always has a cup on hand. Whether it’s juice or hot chocolate, it doesn’t matter- she will drink almost anything. Add a straw and you’re mom of the year. With this tip, you can make magic. Make fun smoothies, homemade instant breakfast or whatever you think they will like! I will not judge you if you somehow manage to blend dinner into a secret smoothie and get your kid to drink it. More power to you!
This is something that I fought for a long time, because it seemed like Piper was playing me, (She probably was) but while allowing them to share your plate is an inconvenience, it will get some food in their stomach. I always told Piper “We are literally eating the exact same thing!” but she wouldn’t touch hers. I decided it’s a small price to pay if I’m actually getting her to eat something. We gotta do what we gotta do!
So, tell me below, do you have a kid who is picky and just downright doesn’t like to eat? What are your tips?