You’ve tried everything, but your child is still refusing to eat what you put on his or her plate. Perhaps your child would rather eat nothing than something healthy. As frustrating as this may be, there are a few ways you can prevent mealtime mayhem with your child.
Be respectful. Although it may seem counterintuitive, sometimes it’s best if you don’t force your child to eat a meal or snack. Arguing against your child’s wishes will only create a power struggle and cause your child to associate food with anxiety and emotion. Instead, offer small portions and allow your child to ask for more if he or she is still hungry.
Be regular. Keeping meals and snacks consistent is important. Try to serve meals and snacks around the same time each day. This will help your child to learn that snacks are available if needed and that he or she does not need to overeat at meals.
Be patient. While getting your child to try new foods can be very frustrating, it’s important to remain patient. Repeated exposure is often key before a child is willing to fully try a new food. Be encouraging and engage your child by talking about the food’s color, shape, texture, etc. instead of focusing on taste.
Be creative. No one enjoys boring foods, especially not kids. Instead of serving plain broccoli and carrots, consider including a favorite dip or sauce. Use cookie cutters to create fun shapes so your child learns that healthy foods can still be fun. Brightly colored foods also add some fun to your child’s plate.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s diet, consider speaking with a professional. Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care has medical professionals who would love to talk with you. Designed exclusively to meet the needs of children, Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care provides quick, efficient service so you can avoid the typical hassle of a doctor’s visit.
Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.