Tagged with: disability food Nutrition picky eaters
Are you struggling to feed your child who is a picky eater? It seems to be very common in children that I have baby-sat for or among the campers with intellectual disorders that I have prepared meals for. It is challenging to make food look appetizing to those who just aren’t having it. Spinach? “Ew, gross!” Broccoli? “Noooo way!” Broccoli with cheese? “Yuck, there’s broccoli in there!” Creative thinking and patience play large roles when it comes to selective eaters.
Changing the perspective of certain fruits and vegetables may be one way to allow nutrients into one’s diet. What exactly does that mean? By alternating the perspective of food, I simply mean incorporating those, “No way, I’m not trying that!” healthy foods into the diet by inventive ways. For instance, chopping up produce to “hide” in particular recipes is a great way to consume these vitamins and minerals without even knowing. This technique works well for casseroles, pizza, and smoothies because the fruit or vegetables are mostly disguised. You can even make smoothies thicker to be like an ice cream or perhaps even sweeter and more appealing by adding honey. I have also blended up bananas with milk to make “banana ice cream” before. So tasty!
Another way to deal with a picky eater would be to make sure the family eats meals together; this sets a good example for the child. If the entire family is eating healthier, the child doesn’t have much of an option other than to join in. It’s important that food is not used as a reward though and that fruits and vegetables are continually offered onto the child’s plate, even though he or she may refuse. This can be challenging because you do not necessarily want to pressure the child to eat healthy; however, if that is all that is offered and what everyone around them is eating, it may help things.
It can be quite the obstacle when a child refuses healthy options and the parents (or baby-sitter, in my case!) get desperate to get the child to eat. The main thing is to continue exposing the child to the food and hope he or she grows out of it. Like previously mentioned, this involves a lot of patience and thinking out-of-the-box to create an appetizing presentation. Stimulating interest by varying the shape, size, or texture of the food is another simple trick used to entice these picky eaters. If all else fails, just know that it is still important to be getting in some type of nutrition. Be sure that the child is consuming enough calories throughout the day from other nutritious items like whole wheat crackers, milk, or the fruits and vegetables that they do enjoy.
Want more tips? Let me know!
How do you handle your picky eaters?