Handling Picky Eaters: Habits to Teach Your Child About Healthy Eating

Updated on November 19, 2020

Keeping your children healthy and strong is one of your main responsibilities as a parent. You need to make sure they maintain a strong immune system sothat they don’t get sick too often. To do this, you need to ensure they develop healthy eating habits sothat they get the right amount of nutrients for their mind and body. Unfortunately, some kids become too picky with their food. Others even avoid drinking lots of water because they prefer juices, chocolate drinks, and other flavored beverages. If your child is a picky eater, you may find it difficult to impose healthy eating habits. To address this issue, you need to find simple yet effective tactics to ensure they remain healthy and well.

Common Reasons Why Your Child Is Picky with Food

Before you learn how to address the issue of your child being a picky eater, you need to understand a few things about why it happens. Sometimes, you may feel frustrated, especially if your child tends to avoid certain types of food. This situation is extremely stressful, especially for busy parents who don’t have time to cook a different meal for their child. This is also difficult for those who have a limited budget because they can’t possibly purchase new ingredients to prepare food that their child prefers. Here are some common reasons why kids become picky eaters:

  • They get used to having what they want-Some kids grow up knowing that their parents can’t say no to them. As a result, they tend to push their parents to do whatever they want. For instance, if they throw a tantrum because they don’t want to eat vegetables, you tend to immediately offer them a different meal, which you think will stop their tantrums. Another example is when you think not giving them their favorite food will make them think you don’t love them enough.
  • They believe they are allowed to eat unhealthy snacks-You allow them to eat unhealthy snacks such as too much ice cream, fried or junk food. You believe that they won’t develop any health issues because they have a strong metabolism. Remember, being young doesn’t mean your child can avoid catching diseases or illnesses brought by unhealthy eating habits.
  • They see other family members eating a different set of meals-Your child doesn’t want to see that their food is different from what the other family members are eating. They feel as if they are forced to finish their food while people around them can enjoy their meals.
  • They are starting to learn how to make their own decisions-Your child’s brain is growing, so they might be developing new habits. They also start to explore what they want or prefer, even when it comes to food, so they may tend to be picky when offered meals they are not familiar with.

Practical Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating Habits

If you observe the factors that affect a child’s eating behavior, you will realize that parents have a major role in shaping their habits. Thus, if you believe that you are one of the reasons your child is a picky eater, you might want to change your ways first. Discover effective and healthy ways to teach them proper eating habits. Here are some practical tips to help them stop being a picky eater:

  • Learn how to prepare healthy meals-Make sure you still find time to prepare healthy meals for your family, especially your child. Plan your meals and prepare meals as early as possible. You can also look for easy-to-prepare meals, as long as it ensures that your child enjoys a balanced diet.
  • Make sure everyone is eating the same set of food-Don’t let your child feel left out, so ensure that everyone is eating the same food as much as possible. Avoid letting them watch you while you eat junk food while they are forced to eat fruits and vegetables.
  • Look for a healthy alternative-Avoid junk food and unhealthy drinks as much as possible. However, you can still find a healthy alternative for your child’s preference. For instance, if your child wants flavored drinks, you can look for products such as fruit-infused water for kids. If they want a crispy snack, try offering them carrot strips, avocado toasts, or sweet potato fries.

Keep in mind that there is no perfect formula when it comes to raising a child. If you want them to develop healthy habits, you need to explore several ways to address certain issues. Consider trying the tips mentioned above, so you can start fixing their unhealthy eating habits. Make sure to give your child some time and don’t force them to change their habits immediately. The key is to give them a set of rules while providing them with an opportunity to share their ideas when choosing their meals. It would be best to talk things over and ensure that your child also realizes the importance of staying healthy while they are still young.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.