How to Help Picky Eaters

It is important for your child to eat a variety of healthy foods to grow and develop properly.  However, it is common for children to refuse to try new foods but instead develop a taste for fast food and avoid vegetables and fruits.  As children grow, they start to develop food preferences which are often fickle in that his/her favourite food today can change by the next day or week.  This is often very frustrating for parents and so here are some tips to help you as a parent to guide your child to develop healthy eating habits.

Click to view AmAcadPaeds video on Feeding Picky Eaters

Prevent picky eating habits

Even at a young age, start to introduce a variety of health foods for your child as you start wean your child off breast milk.  At around the age of 9-12 months, your child has not developed taste buds yet, so take advantage of this and introduce healthy foods such as pureed fruits and vegetables.  Avoid adding sugar or salt but allow the child to enjoy the natural taste.

Don’t get upset!

Picky eating usually is a normal developmental stage for every child

Strategies for picky eaters

  • Take the child shopping and allow him/her to make decisions to pick some healthy options
  • Have the child help you prepare the chosen food in the kitchen
  • Wait until the child is hungry before giving him/her food
  • Try not to give the child snacks in between meal times as this may spoil the appetite
  • Allow the child to feed him/her self during the meal
  • Give the child a choice between 2 health options (one of which is something your child likes)
  • Eat together as a family and provide a balanced meal, whether the child eats it or not
  • Avoid force feeding or punishing the child
  • Be patient.  You may need to offer the same healthy foods in different forms by cooking them differently to your child’s taste.  Your dietician can customise children-friendly recipes to suit your child’s taste
  • Consult a dietician to help you and your child explore new healthy options which are both healthy and enjoyable for your child

Do’s and Don’t’s

DO stay strong and be patient

DO be consistent and don’t pander to demands

DO encourage encourage your child to have the feeling of independence and control

DO set an example also so that the child sees you eat and enjoy the same healthy food

DON’T give in to tantrums or whining.

DON’T feel pressure to make a another meal to replace it.

DON’T over react to a child refusal and crying

DON’T use food as a reward or punishment

Talk to your child specialist or dietician if your child has poor eating habits

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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