- Sit at the table–An important part of encouraging your kiddo eat more foods is establishing routines. Sitting at the table is part of the routine. Children are very cue-driven and having them sit at the same place for meals &/or snacks is an important first step in establishing an eating routine. Highchairs and booster seats are great, but we understand not everyone has these at their homes. We’ve recommended families use a toddler sized table and chair set if they’ve got it.
- Establish a meal schedule–Many children (and adults!) tend to enjoy snacks throughout the day and we wonder…do they ever really feel hunger? We frequently recommend families begin to establish a consistent meal and snack schedule to target having your child feel hungry. Enhancing appetite is a key way to begin encouraging more foods into their diet. A schedule doesn’t have to be exact times, but certainly aim for offering breakfast, lunch, dinner & a couple of snacks in between meals.
- Encourage drinking water–This is absolutely something we all need to work on! It may seem simple, but can be so important! Kiddos who are drinking milk, juice, or other other sugary drinks may be filling up on these drinks & decreasing their overall appetite for solid foods. Drinking water improves overall hydration and can even help with constipation. You can even add flavored drops or mixes into water if your child (or you!) isn’t drinking plain water.
- Be a good example--You’ve heard it before, but your child truly does learn from what they see their parent/caregivers do. If you want your kiddo to eat more fruits, you should be modeling eating more fruit. If you want your kiddo to sit at the table without their iPad at the table, you should sit at the table without your phone. Talk about the foods that you are eating in a positive or fun way (“I think this broccoli looks like a little tree and it kind of tickles my tongue when I eat it!” or “These strawberries are so delicious!) to increase their interest in new foods. Check out the photo with this post of kiddos enjoying some healthy Fondue together!
There are so many ways to encourage children to eat more foods, and many reasons that children are picky in the first place! We hope these tips help your family to enjoy more mealtimes together.