Many Calgary parents are faced with one or more children who turn out to be picky eaters, regardless of how their parents' dietary habits are. While you may be pulling your hair out and thinking that your child (or children!) will starve to death, take heed that they will not. Children will typically eat when they are hungry and your job is to provide quality, nutritious food for them when they need it.
For those who are looking for alternative solutions to the picky eater in the house, there are a few different tricks and tips you can use to help grab their attention and get them to eat more at the table.
- Children love finger foods, especially things that they can handle without upsetting everyone at the dinner table. Try to choose food items that can be cut into finger-sized portions, raw veggies, finger sandwiches, fruit and yoghurt dip, or even hummus and pita chips. Use one of your meat-less meals to capitalize on your finger food dinner night.
- Toothpicks can be a great resource for frustrated parents. Children will eat almost anything if there is a fancy toothpick in it. Pick up a package of cocktail toothpicks with the colored tassel ends or just use plain ones from your own cupboard. Dice up anything you were going to feed to them regularly, minute steak, chicken, or even fish sticks. Be sure they are in small bite-sized pieces and put a toothpick in each piece. Serve with raw or cooked veggies with their own toothpicks of course! You will be surprised at how eager they are to eat what you place in front of them.
- Platters are a parents' best friend! Everyone loves going to house parties where there are platters of food so why not make platters at home for meals occasionally. Fruit platters are great for breakfast with grapes, watermelon, apple and orange slices. Lunch platters can consist of sliced brick cheese, crackers and pepperoni or other luncheon meat that you typically have on hand or want to pick up for the day.
Be sure to explore different meal choices and ask your child what they would like to see on the table. You may find that it's not really the food they are avoiding, but rather prefer input on what is given to them on a regular basis. As long as your child makes healthy meal choices, accept their ideas and let them help with meal planning and you may have a great helper on hand instead of a picky eater!