By Elizabeth Pantley, The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution
Picky eating is a very common childhood trait. While it’s not possible to entirely change your child’s food preferences, there are a number of things that you can do to help your baby accept more food choices right from the start. You can also modify your own actions to set up habits and routines that will picky-proof your child as he gets a bit older. All these ideas are steps to healthy eating, so there’s no harm in giving them a try!
Watch the habits that your baby is forming.
Work hard to install good ones and avoid unhealthy habits. If your child loves fresh fruit for breakfast make sure there’s always some in the house so that he’ll come to expect this as part of his first meal of the day. On the flip side, avoid serving a sweet dessert after every meal as your baby will quickly come to expect this as a standard part of his meal.
Avoid using food as a pacifier, a prize or discipline tool.
Don’t offer food as a way to stop your baby from fussing, or as a soother for times when he is scared or hurt. Avoid promising sweets as a bribe for good behavior, or taking away goodies for bad behavior.
Serve small portions on small plates so your child isn’t overwhelmed.
Large servings can be a turn-off to a young child and can prevent you from accurately assessing the proper portion amount, so your child may eat more than needed. Allow requests for second helpings of healthy foods, and don’t make a big deal about food that is left on the plate uneaten. The “clean your plate” rule is old-fashioned and unhealthy.
Do a taste test before serving.
Before you offer something new to your baby, taste it first! Make sure the food is fresh and tasty. An accidental offering of a spoiled or unpleasant food can turn your baby off trying similar foods for a very long time.
Casually introduce many new foods.
Offer your baby a wide variety of foods, always in small servings at first. Continue to offer a food over time, even if your baby isn’t interested, since the sight and smell of a new food is the first step before actually tasting it. It can take many exposures before your baby will be willing to taste something new, but each exposure takes you closer, so keep trying!
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