how to get your Picky eater to eat

how to get your Picky eater to eat

Do you have a picky eater at home?

Does your child feel reluctant to try new foods?

Is your child super picky about the smell and texture of food? The overwhelming addition of various ingredients gets in the way of your child’s eating habits.

In most cases, you may notice that picky eating comes from the parent(s), or sometimes your child develops sensitivity to food over time. You cannot blame your child for being a picky eater, rather you should be looking at the solution on how you can have your child try new foods or enjoy a proper meal.

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Why does your child become a picky eater?

My son is extremely picky about food and scared of trying new foods (and that comes from his dad). I made the mistake of not having him try new foods as I was being over-protective. Had I tried baby-led weaning for him, things would have been less challenging. Now after years of struggling with food, surprisingly, he has started taking interest in food – I would say, to some extent.

Not to mention, your picky eater would eventually fall for traditional foods and family preferences, regardless of how versatile cuisines you serve on your dining table.

Having a strong sense of smell makes your child eat or leave

Having a strong sense of smell is one of the reasons your child refuses to eat. Well, having a sharp sense of smell is inherent or it develops with time.

If your picky eater likes Pizza, chances are, he likes the aroma of Oregano. How about cooking pasta or Mac and cheese with a dash of oregano?

Adding Too many textures in one meal

For some kids or adults, an overwhelming plate is a big turn-off. When you have a picky eater, start with a simple menu, with the simplest ingredients so they can enjoy food and its flavor.

Your child is Hesitant to try a new type of food

No matter how tempting the food may appear, picky eater would feel reluctant to try new food. The good news is, this may get better with time.

Whether it is a refusal to eat or being selective about their food, all children go through these phases and that’s completely normal. There is a possibility that sometimes your child will eat anything, and some days they eat nothing; this is normal, but at the same time, quite frustrating and worrisome for parents.

Understanding your child’s preference is key to healthy eating. This does not mean that you should only get your picky eater to eat, what he likes. Instead, try making new recipes with the favorite ingredients of your picky eater.

Simple Hacks to get your picky eater to eat a fulfilling meal

Picky eating starts around the age of one when your child starts to self-feed. He would choose what to eat and how much. Baby-led weaning is an incredible approach to have your child learn self-feeding and also, it will reduce the chances of becoming picky when it comes to food. This process will help you funnel down to your child’s most favorites and fewer favorites.

Most importantly, you need to have your picky eater get hungry before you serve the food. When you are hungry, it is very likely that your child would eat anything (or at least some of it) that you have to offer.

1. Limit sugar intake

Avoid offering candies, juice, sugar, or any junk in between meal times. Eating too many candies suppress hunger, and your child is getting energy in the form of sugary drinks and candies.

2. Increase appetite

You can expect your toddler around the age of 2 to 3 to not sit and eat properly. Generally, toddlers are too busy playing, running, and exploring new things all the time; they would hardly want to sit and eat. However, as your child grows out of the age of 3 to 4, the growth spurts kick in, and now it’s time to start trying new foods.

Related: 18 Parenting Hacks for toddlers

3. Try new foods in front of them

Children at the age of 4-7 watch their parents, siblings, friends, and teachers eating and trying new foods. So, try to lead by example. Try new foods yourself and don’t force-feed or pressure them to eat new foods.

Try to include a pleasant smell that is not too overwhelming if your child has a fairly strong sense of smell.

A mom trying new foods in front of her child.

4. Never force your child to eat

Many parents try to force, coax, argue or bribe their children to eat food. They may also start preparing something else or try to punish, threaten, or become angry or frustrated. This makes children more stressed and worried and they may end up eating less food.

5. Schedule proper meal times and snack times

Try to have regular mealtimes so that your child starts feeling hungry at the usual meal and snack times. If your child refuses to eat, don’t offer him food until the next scheduled meal or snack time.

6. Limit mealtime

Children usually eat most of their food within 30 minutes; so, try to limit mealtime to 30 minutes. This will also give time for your child to become hungry before the next mealtime arrives.

7. Keep distractions away while eating

Keep away all the distractions by switching off the tv, mobile, and tablets so that your child can focus on their meals.

Try these cute educational placemats to keep your child engaged and entertained while eating.

Or download these pretty alphabets printable for free, both uppercase and lowercase, that you can insert into a sheet protector.

8. Start with smaller portions of food

Try to give small portions of food that your child may eat. Big portions are always overwhelming for children. Please do not force them to clear their plate, in fact, you should keep reminding them about not being wasteful in any way.

9. Try to add things to mealtime that may interest your child

Try to bring something new related to food during mealtimes. Toddlers enjoy exploring a fork and spoon, so having some fancy kids-friendly cutlery helps develop their mealtime interest.

Try this cute kids cutlery set

Kids tasting new foods and veggies with dad at mealtime.

10. Try reward system

Reward or praise your children if they have eaten more food and cleared their plate. Be this a candy or a sticker depending on your child.

Check out this reward chart to keep your child motivated.

11. Appreciation goes a long way

Make the praising process enthusiastic by having an eye to eye contact, a warm smile, or by giving them a hug or high five.

12. Avoid using discouraging words

Don’t use negative words or avoid bringing up past events. Encourage every time by saying as you did better today.

13. Do not make your child’s picky eating an issue in front of anyone

Don’t discuss your child’s eating problems in front of them; this may imply that they can overpower you. Remember, you are the parents, and they are just kids.

14. Consider your child’s likes and dislikes

The likes and dislikes of children can be evolved over time. So, make sure you keep offering your child foods that he disliked previously.

15. Try to make mealtime a healthy experience for everyone at the table

Keep mealtimes a happy and relaxing experience. Try not to add conflict with the child or other family members during mealtime that may trigger anxiety in kids or deter them to eat properly.

A Family sitting on a dining table sharing a happy mealtime together.

16. Engage your child while cooking meals

You may also engage children (6-10) to help in cooking. Children are more likely to eat food which they take part in preparing.

Toddler boy is helping dad to make a salad.

How can you make your picky eater (child) get hungry?

Before you start reading about the food you want to try with your picky eater, try this amazing hack to get your child to sit and eat properly.

First, let them get hungry. Get them to do lots of physical activity, like running, dancing, playing and moving, etc.

Practically and medically, your child will eat when he gets hungry. Every child has different eating habits; some are good eaters and some are frequent eaters. As your child grows up, have him decide when and how he wants to eat.

Remember: NEVER force food. I know, I know. It’s hard. I have given this advice to moms many times, but a mom’s heart never pays attention to this one. Kids don’t starve themselves unless there is a medical reason for it.

Adding multivitamins to your kids’ diet increases appetite and significantly helps with eating habits.

In my opinion, the best way to get your child hungry is by including multivitamins in his diet. Have your child eat his favorite gummy vitamins, any specific time of the day because multivitamins tend to increase hunger in kids and adults both.

I personally love Zarbees multivitamins for my kids as I prefer no gelatin.

The above-mentioned suggestions and quick picky eater recipes will help you and your child get into a good routine with food and meals and avoid long-term battles at mealtimes. Try to be consistent with these strategies but do remember that things will take time to develop or change. 

A picky eater  toddler is trying new food and exploring the texture.

9 Effective ways to prevent Seasonal Allergy in children

9 Effective ways to prevent Seasonal Allergy in children

A seasonal allergy that occurs in a particular season is more commonly known as hay fever. The most common allergens are pollens from wind-pollinated plants, such as trees, grasses, and weeds.

While the timing and severity of an allergy season vary across the country, the factors that can trigger allergies are trees and grass pollens thrive during cool nights and warm days. The pollen levels tend to peak in the morning hours. Even though rain washes the pollen away, but pollen counts can surge after rainfall or when the day is windy and warm.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read the disclaimer for more information. 

What are the Symptoms of Seasonal Allergy

Seasonal allergies trigger during the change in weather. Kids who are allergic to pollen may seem to have symptoms like:

  • sneezing, watery and itchy eyes
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • itchy sinuses, throat, or ear canal
  • wheezing
  • coughing

How to treat seasonal allergies in children

Every year when the weather changes, some kids may get allergies regardless. For that reason, as recommended by my kids’ pediatrician, you can start giving them the dose of Claritin or Zyrtec, so they do not get sick due to seasonal allergies every time the weather changes.

In addition to that, you can take these steps to deal with seasonal allergies for your kids.

1. Frequent Feedings to stay hydrated

For breastfeeding babies – Nurse them more frequently than normal. They usually stop taking or take very less feed because babies don’t know how to breathe through their mouths when they are congested. They couldn’t latch for a long time as in normal conditions.

Keeping babies or toddlers well hydrated is essential. They might refuse to eat or drink, but whatever form of liquid you prefer – breastmilk, formula, juices, water, popsicles – just keep offering to help your child stay hydrated.

2. Humidifier 

A humidifier releases moisture in the air that helps loosen the mucus, making it less hard to breathe with a stuffy nose.

My kids’ pediatrician always recommends having a humidifier in the main area or baby’s nursery, if you have an infant.

Keep in mind; humidifiers require frequent cleaning – otherwise, the foam inside gets mold. Also, you have to make sure your room or house has a proper ventilation system.

humidifier in baby room

3. Medication: Zyrtec/ Benedryl /Tylenol

For allergies, you need to give your child anti-allergy like Zyrtec or Benadryl, or Claritin.

Zyrtec is non-drowsy, works for 24 hours, whereas Benadryl has drowsiness and works for about 4 to 6 hours. For some children, Benedryl helps with sleep, but some kids get hyper and irritated. Always watch for any concerning signs after medication doses.

Tylenol is a fever reducer, over the counter medicine, and considered safe for babies. You need a Tylenol dose every 4 to 6 hours as prescribed by the doctor.

Always ask your pediatrician about medication and how safe it is according to your child’s age and the dosage you need.

 4. Handwashing and Bathing Frequently

Have your child wash hands frequently. Bathing your child every day, especially after outdoor activities, should help. This will help pollen or dust get washed away. 

Shower before bedtime results in faster recovery; however, if you follow morning routines for showers, I highly recommend changing your child’s clothes after outdoor play while they have allergies.

A toddler girl washing her hands.

5. Nasal Spray

Using Nasal Spray 2 to 3 times or as needed in babies each nostril. A nasal spray is medicated saltwater and extremely effective for babies, toddlers, and adults.

This spray helps soften the mucus inside the nasal passage, and definitely, it is worth having this product at hand as you are going to use it regularly. Especially before bedtime, when they usually have trouble sleeping through the night due to the congested nose, spray 3 to 4 times in each nostril, and your child sleeps comfortably.

6. Nose Frieda – Nasal suction device  

Nasal sucker is a sanity saver for new parents. Every parent should have this at home at all times after the baby is born. Unfortunately, infants cannot blow their noses, and they cannot sleep well with a congested nose. So it is important to have a nose Frieda device at home.

In order to relieve a stuffy nose, use nasal spray a couple of times in each nostril and suck mucus out of the baby’s nose with the help of an aspirator. You can also use a simple nose sucker that you might have got at the hospital.

If you have trouble using a manual nasal sucker, you can use a battery-operated one.

mom using nose frieda for nasal suction.

7. Boogie wipes 

Seasonal allergy can cause a stuffy nose. Boogie wipes will help you wipe off the runny or stuffy nose easily without causing rashes around the nose, usually due to frequent wiping off with an ordinary dry napkin.

The best hack is, moisten the napkin as it becomes soft and doesn’t scratch delicate skin.

8. Air Purifier

Having an Air Purifier is the best thing you can do when you have babies and older kids. Make sure your house is smoke-free, with small kids. Air purifiers help to keep the air clean in the house, especially during the pollen season.

I have this one at home, and I highly recommend you to have it in your home as it will keep your house Odor-free and take away any post-cooking smell faster.

9. Change bedcovers and crib sheets frequently

Last but not least, this remedy works best during the pollen allergy season.

Changing bedcovers frequently for kids’ cribs or big beds are equally essential. During pollen season, bedcovers get pollens too if you have doors or windows open during any time of the day. 

Keep windows and doors shut at home and in your car during allergy season.

Washing clothes and bed cover frequently helps you avoid getting sick. If your child gets sick during pollen season, change linens, towels, and other essentials more often, especially after your child starts feeling better.

Typically, it will take about 2 to 3 days to feel better. However, if you think your child does not have a pollen allergy, you should make an appointment with your Child’s doctor.

10. Start giving a vitamin supplement to have better immunity

In my personal experience, having supplements every day increases your immunity tremendously to fight all sorts of diseases. If you are taking supplements, you may feel sick for a day or two, and eventually, you will feel better rather than feeling sick for the whole week.

Similarly, your kids should have better immunity to deal with allergies and being sick. I would recommend using Multivitamins for kids if there are no pre-existing medical conditions. Always discuss with your child’s doctor about the options of giving supplements.

Some recommendations are:

Elderberry Gummies to protect them from viral infections.

Zarbees immunity support supplements for every day use for 2-year-old and older. I am using this one for my kids and I highly recommend it.

Related: How to get your picky eater to start eating proper meals.

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