Food for Extremely Picky Eaters – Encouraging Variety
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When your child is a picky eater, encouraging them to eat a variety of foods may be tough. At least it is with many of the families I see for occupational therapy in Florida.
Extremely picky eaters can be rigid about the types, color, and taste of foods they eat. As a result, their diet may consist of vary little variety in foods, even isolating entire food groups. This can leave parents stressed about their child’s nutrition.
But it can be difficult to know where and how to start getting your child to eat new food.
With families that I work with, I often recommend encouraging variety within foods that their children ALREADY love. This way, they are presenting something familiar, so that their children will feel more comfortable around it.
Big changes, like chicken nuggets to a big piece of plain baked chicken can be hard for many children, and result in mealtime battles.
Therefore, I also always work on making SMALL changes, so as not to overwhelm kids. Little changes are often more manageable.
Here’s some easy ways to encourage variety:
- Change the color of favorite foods with food coloring (example: yogurt)
- Change the brand of certain foods (example: cheerios to kashi o’s)
- Change the flavor within favorite brands (example: cheerios to blueberry cheerios)
- Cut foods in a variety of ways and shapes
- Try new foods in same shapes (different types of breads)
Even with these small changes, some kids may take a while to become comfortable with variety. Having variety even within favorite foods helps kiddos learn that change and variety is OK, and not scary!
The first step is always having them “tolerate” the unfamiliar food on the plate, then we move up the steps through eating!
Does this sound like something that would help you? Try one of our FREE PARENT CONSULTS, to find out how OT 4 ME can help!
Let’s making eating fun,
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