5 Ways to avoid raising a picky eater

Up until my son turned two, I thought I had this eating thing waxed. From broccoli to blue cheese, he ate it all – until one day, when he simply refused to eat anything but cheddar cheese, raisins and bread. You want your child to eat healthy, balanced meals, but if it’s a question of them going hungry or eating a biscuit for breakfast, the answer is clear.
 
Panic-stricken, I started doing some research and I was surprised to find that children will often refuse food between 10 to 15 times before they’ll happily eat it. I also came across a few other tips that I’ve found helpful:

1. Make mealtimes fun. A friend (who also happens to be a mama to two older kids, so she’s been there, done that!) suggested that I buy a colourful placemat, a new bowl or plate, and a cute knife and spoon for Bean to use at mealtimes (this Carrol Boyes set is adorable ). This will help to create a sense of ownership over his space, and will hopefully encourage him to see mealtimes in a more positive light.
 
TIP: If you have an older child, you can enlist them to help you with setting the table – but make it fun. Try taking turns to set the table and time yourselves to see who can set the table quickest.
 
2. Sing songs and play games to create a lively atmosphere. This goes hand-in-hand with having fun, and works particularly well with smaller babies and toddlers. Try singing songs to your baby, or ask your toddler to pick out a specific colour on his or her plate to help distract them and keep them interested during mealtimes. 

3. Give your baby a few finger foods and his or her own spoon while you feed them. Encourage your baby to feed him or herself by grating up some cheese or giving him or her a few steamed pieces of veg to pick on while you feed them. 

4. Give your baby or toddler the same meals as the grownups. I used to spend hours in the kitchen, whipping up separate dishes especially for Bean, but soon gave up on the idea after I realised that he was more interested in what was on my plate anyway. Now Bean gets exactly the same food as my husband and I, and I’ve noticed that he’s eating so much better too. 

5. Delegate! When you need a little extra help, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a baby food service or ready-made meals. I’ve been ordering toddler meals from Umatie for the past couple of months, and I love it! It means that I get to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with my family – and Bean really seems to enjoy their meals.

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