Smart ways to end picky eating

All new moms want their kids to be good eaters. But the question that always keeps arising is what can one do in the initial months to make sure that the toddler is open to eating and trying everything once they start weaning. You also wonder if appetite is ingrained in kids like personality traits, hair colour etc.

Here are some strategies you can try to raise an adventurous eater or helping a cautious and choosy eater convert into a relatively more adventurous one.

1. The meal is planned. And I have no time to cook anything new.

It is very important to lay a meal time rule that 'This is what is for your meal today. If you don't like it, you don't have to eat it. But there isn't anything else.' Your toddler can then decide if they want to eat the given meal or wait until the next meal time. Make sure there are a few things on the plate you are sure your toddler likes. It's about introducing new things; not shunning them away from eating completely.

Also remember children will not become ill or suffer any kind of damage if they refuse one or two meals. So take it easy and be patient.

2. Give vegetables the hard sell.

Vegetable is something traditionally all kids would like to give a pass; especially if they have something more exciting coming up in the next course of the dinner/lunch.

Try this: The first thing you serve on the dinner table should be a portion of the veggies you want your toddler to eat fuss-free.

How it works: The kids are the hungriest when they arrive at the dinner table. And this plays to your advantage, where they would have gladly eaten what is there in front of them without any coercion.

3. You have to try one bite.

Trying a bite sounds more convincing than putting a ladleful of stuff on their plate and forcing it down their throat. And if this doesn't work, try the traditional tricks your parents used when you were young.

  • No dessert if you don't eat a fair amount of dinner.
  • No seconds until you try a little of everything—but then seconds can be whatever part of the meal you like most.
  • Or, the most mysteriously effective one of all, "I see you're not eating your chicken. Mind if I give it to your brother?" at which point, some inexplicable competitive urge kicks in, and the child turns into a food-eating dynamo and polishes off everything on his plate.