6 Ways To Make Healthy Food More Fun for Your Picky Eater in Wilson, NC
Why It’s Important To Help Picky Eaters
Have you found that mealtimes are always a struggle with your child? Picky eating can quickly transform from a minor annoyance into a serious issue—and parents need effective ways to handle the situation when it arises. If you’re wondering how to help your picky eater, these simple tips will be useful.
Children are bound to have certain preferences at mealtimes, and those preferences may not always be particularly healthy. However, there’s an important difference between liking treats and outright refusing to eat healthy meals.
If your child is only eating from one or two food groups, they can be at higher risk of a number of health problems, including oral health issues such as cavities. Cavities are the most common chronic childhood disease and are closely linked to diet.
Without enough variety, your child’s diet may lack the vitamins essential for proper development. So finding out “how to help my picky eater” is vital to supporting their growth and health.
1. Try eating somewhere new.
Your picky eater may be hesitant to try out new foods at first. However, if they’re willing to give them a chance, they might warm up to them. The real challenge is getting them to give it a try in the first place. One option to consider is visiting local restaurants; your child will likely be excited about the occasion and be more willing to try something new.
Wilson is home to many fine restaurants that you and your child will love. You can try out some traditional barbecue at Parker’s Barbecue, which boasts a full menu of North Carolina favorites. If you’re looking for a bit more variety, then Daniel’s Casual Fine Dining provides many new dishes to try.
2. Let your child get involved.
One of the most effective steps that parents asking how to help their picky eaters can take is to involve their child in the decision. Your child might not have any type of selective eating disorder but could simply be testing boundaries.
Allowing your child to choose a new meal to taste can open them up to trying new things. You could also help things go more smoothly by involving them in the meal’s preparation. This helps your child feel like it’s something they’re a part of rather than something they’re being told to do.
3. Don’t make it a big deal.
While it’s important to take action to improve your child’s diet and open them up to trying new things, focusing on the issue too harshly could do more harm than good. Your child may find it stressful to go over discussions about good foods and bad foods over and over again.
Another common action to avoid is forcing your child to finish their plate. Excess pressure only makes trying new foods more difficult. Don’t punish them for not finishing, and avoid bribing with things like desserts. Instead, let your child eat the amount they’re comfortable with.
4. Don’t take away their safe foods.
While it might seem like the foods your child prefers are an obstacle to dealing with a picky eater, they’re actually an asset. Removing them from their diet entirely to try to force some variety could end up backfiring.
Instead, use the foods your child already eats as a starting point. Then you can expand slowly, perhaps adding side dishes to established meals or making other small changes as baby steps.
5. Try out some new recipes.
Trying out new recipes at home is a quick and easy way to improve your child’s nutrition. You don’t need to find the perfect recipe; just try something new without any expectations.
You can also try incorporating healthy foods into recipes in ways your child doesn’t notice. For example, you can mix vegetables into many dishes without noticeable effects, such as by blending them into fruit smoothies.
6. Know when it’s time to seek professional help.
At some point, selective eating extends beyond a difficult situation to deal with and becomes a health issue. Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) can be serious, and you should reach out to child health services for help regarding nutritional counseling if you notice signs such as:
- Any weight loss in still-growing children
- Unusual weight gain
- Having fewer than 20 safe foods
- Choking or gagging when trying to eat
If these signs are present, your child could be dealing with a more serious issue than simple picky eating. Finding the support they need can significantly improve their health and development.
Take a proactive approach to your child’s health.
Keeping a close eye on your child’s behavior is important for ensuring healthy development. In some cases, selective eating habits could occur due to tooth sensitivity or pain. You can visit Dixon, Boles and Associates—the family dentist near your Walmart Neighborhood Market in Wilson—for all of your family’s dental needs.