Advertising
Advertising

How To Make Your Kids Less Picky And Eat Everything

How To Make Your Kids Less Picky And Eat Everything

Dealing with younger children is hard work and takes a lot of patience, especially when it comes to getting them to eat their food. When they flat out refuse to eat, you have a bit of a dilemma on your hands – you want them to have all the necessary nutrition so that they can grow and stay healthy, but on the other hand you don’t want force food down their throat if they aren’t hungry. In fact, having them eat a lot of food constantly is a fast lane to obesity and this is definitely not something that you want. You should definitely avoid:

  • Giving your kids sugary snacks in between meals
  • Letting your kids drink a lot of juice/soda right before a meal
  • Using food as a reward or bargaining chip
  • Developing an association between food and emotions
  • Letting your child’s temper tantrums go unpunished

These habits can be detrimental to developing a healthy diet and your child will be stuck eating only junk food. If you are looking to develop some good habits that will make your kids less picky, then read on.

1. Stay firm and dissuade aggressive behavior like temper tantrums

Advertising

girl-crying

    Temper tantrums and emotional eating should be discouraged and the parents should assert themselves as an authority figure. Keeping a calm demeanor and using a deep and somewhat louder tone of voice coupled with an appropriate punishment – e.g. escorting the child to their room and cutting off TV, phone and computer privileges – can help you out a lot. Children often use emotional outburst to get their way. Don’t issue empty threats and don’t argue with them, but do not allow them to get so worked up that they start breaking things, crying and screaming. Nip it in the bud and escort them to their room the moment they start acting up.

    2. Run a tight meal schedule

    Three solid meals a day and a couple of small snacks here and there will get the job done, just make sure that both you and the children know that the family eats at a certain time. The kids can run around and play between meals, but don’t give them any food until a set meal time. This way they actually get hungry and are ready to devour almost anything that you offer them. Making your kids less picky is pretty easy when they want to eat something quick.

    3. Everyone eats the same thing

    Unless you are dealing with babies and very small toddlers you don’t need to put them on a specialized diet. You make the food and the whole family sits down to eat it – equality for all. This includes snacks, so instead of buying a bunch of soda you can make milkshakes or slushies with fresh fruit. You can use different spices to liven up some tasteless foods or to mask tastes that your child might not be so fond of, but make sure that they don’t have a go-to meal that they can grab out of the fridge if they don’t want to eat what you’ve cooked.

    Advertising

    4. Keep switching up meals frequently

    diverse food

      If your child has a couple of favorite meals and has a really tough time adjusting to new foods, it means that you offer some foods with higher frequency than other foods. Don’t let your child get used to any particular type of food or a particular meal – offer a different set of meals every day and rotate your weekly schedule. You may have some mashed potatoes, a salad and fried chicken on Monday, but don’t repeat that formula until next week and even then, avoid putting it on the same day so that the kids don’t fall into a pattern. Have them choose between 2-3 predetermined meals for breakfast or dinner a couple of times a week just to give them a little wiggle room now and again.

      5. Offer a lot of veggies with every meal

      The problem with picky kids is that they have a lot of choice when it comes to food and this gives them a lot of wiggle room to try and bargain with you or even argue. Add to this the fact that a lot of parents don’t really know how to be assertive and end up either succumbing to the child’s pleas or, even worse, arguing with the child as if were an adult, and you can get quite a mess. You can avoid this by having a 60/40 percent vegetable to other foods ratio on the plate, staying calm and sticking to your guns. The child can choose between eating what’s on the table or staying hungry until the next meal. Believe me, a strict but fair parental figure and an empty belly can quickly melt away all the irrational aversions one might have for certain foods.

      Advertising

      6. Your kids have to try everything, at least a single bite

      Kids are very reluctant to try out new food, even if they see you eating it. It can take well over 10 tries to get them accustomed to a new taste, so start out slow and build up. My grandmother had an excellent strategy to get me to eat new food: she’d explain that it’s seeing and smelling the food that gives it a particular feel and that I had to close my eyes and close my nose with the fingers of my left hand while I took a bite or two of the food. You really don’t taste much this way and once you realize it’s not so bad you can gradually begin eating a few bites of it with your eyes open. During the next few times your child tries the new food, the taste will grow on them.

      7. Offer an assortment of fruits and nuts as snacks

      Big snacks between meals should generally be avoided so as not to spoil a child’s appetite, but small snacks such as an apple and a handful of walnuts or a couple of oranges and some almonds are a great way of providing your child with carbs, various vitamins and good fats, while keeping the overall calories at a reasonable level. They get a bit of fuel for their busy little bodies, but they still have plenty of room for lunch. Just make sure there are no sugary snacks around and that you eat the same healthy snacks – the simplest way to make your kids less picky about snacks is to give them this choice: they can either have the fruit and nuts or they can wait for the next big meal, no discussion.

      8. Combine different foods in one big family meal

      If your child is pretty reluctant to eat certain foods – it’s usually things like carrots, garlic, broccoli and spinach – you can chop these foods up into tiny pieces and use them in a more complex dish or make a puree that you can serve with the main course. It’s also good to have several food choices on the table – that way each separate portion is relatively small and the child can combine the ingredients on their plate, choosing a portion size that they feel comfortable with.

      Advertising

      9. Let your child help you out in the kitchen

      Stock Photo

        Making the child feel like an integral part of the family instead of a little dictator is very important. They need to know that you are not there for their amusement and to satisfy their every whim, but that they are expected to contribute as well. This helps in several ways – it can raise your child’s self-respect, tire them out and make them hungry and familiarize them with the cooking process so that they feel less reluctant to try new things.

        10. Encourage good dinner table manners

        Sit up straight, elbows off the table, no talking with your mouth full, hold your knife and fork properly, be polite when asking for something, wait until everyone sits at the table before you start eating, chew your food slowly and brush your teeth afterwards – these are all great rules that turn eating into somewhat of a ceremony. Simple everyday rules no longer apply and the atmosphere is a bit more formal when the family sits down at the dinner table. This makes it easier to get the kids to behave as they shift into serious mode – well, as serious as they can ever get.

        11. Set a good example for your child

        Your child looks up to you and will try to emulate everything you do. By making them eat something that you clearly don’t like eating yourself and give them an apple for dessert while you eat doughnuts isn’t really fair. Try to eat a lot of vegetables with your meals, eat fruit instead of snacks and drink mainly water, tea and milk around meals if you want your kids to get into some of these good eating habits.

        Follow these tips and you will make your kids less picky and well-behaved at the dinner table in no time. The trick is to be consistent, patient and, above all, to be firm and assertive.

        More by this author

        Ivan Dimitrijevic

        Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

        40 Amazing Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day 50 New Year’s Resolution Ideas And How To Achieve Each Of Them 8 Fun and Unique Birthday Party Ideas for People in Their 20s 50 Cleaning Hacks for Your Home That Will Make Your Life Easier 9 Unexpected Benefits Of Foot Massage That Make You Want To Have One Now

        Trending in Family

        1 What Happened to Family Dinners? Why We Should Bring Them Back 2 How to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome and Stop Feeling Lonely 3 How Not to Let Work Take Priority over Spending Time With Family 4 35 Life Hacks for Kids That Make Parenting Easier And More Fun 5 20 Things to Remember If You Love a Person with ADD

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on November 19, 2019

        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

        Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

        If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

        1. Create a Daily Plan

        Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

        2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

        Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

        3. Use a Calendar

        Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

        I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

        Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

        4. Use an Organizer

        An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

        These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

        Advertising

        5. Know Your Deadlines

        When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

        But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

        6. Learn to Say “No”

        Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

        Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

        7. Target to Be Early

        When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

        For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

        Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

        8. Time Box Your Activities

        This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

        You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

        Advertising

        9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

        Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

        10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

        Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

        You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

        11. Focus

        Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

        Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

        Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

        12. Block out Distractions

        What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

        I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

        When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

        Advertising

        Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

        13. Track Your Time Spent

        When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

        You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

        14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

        You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

        Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

        15. Prioritize

        Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

        Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

        16. Delegate

        If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

        When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

        Advertising

        17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

        For related work, batch them together.

        For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

        1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
        2. coaching
        3. workshop development
        4. business development
        5. administrative

        I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

        18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

        What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

        One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

        While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

        19. Cut off When You Need To

        The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

        Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

        20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

        Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

        More Time Management Techniques

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Read Next