What To Do If Your Child Does Not Want To Eat?
Do you know the feeling? You try to cook delicious meals for your children, you look for great recipes to offer them a nice variety, you spend hours in the kitchen, you look forward to eating together and as soon as lunch or dinner comes: I'm not hungry! Or, I don't want this! I don't know about you, but in situations like this when I'm not in the mood I want to throw all the cooked food in the bin or give it to people who will be grateful for it.
Fine, I say to myself, today is just a one off. It’ll be better tomorrow. But the same scenario repeats itself the next day and then the next… At first, my 7-year-old daughter didn't want to eat properly and my son ate with gusto. Now, my daughter has started to eat almost everything and my little 2-year-old boy just dabs at the food and would rather just eat dry pasta.
Is it just a phase that lasts a few days or will it be weeks? After a while, I stopped putting up with the selection of food of my children chose and I started to think about how to solve the situation. I read articles and tried various tricks on how to get children to eat and gradually reduce their pickiness.
How to prepare healthy snacks for children? Learn more, here.
Hunger Is The Best Chef
So, what worked for me? I have found it important not to force children to eat, but also not to give in at the same time. How does it work in our practice?
Do you want to eat it? No? Well! There will be nothing else.
It works for my children. Hunger really is the best chef in our case.
It is important however, not to give them any other food. You could also try to make an earlier dinner, as there will be more time for them to get hungry and eat the food they previously refused.
Another tip is not to experiment with two meals in quick succession. Go for a staple meal instead that you know they like after trying a new one. This does not necessarily mean that if the child did not eat lunch, that you should make fries for dinner, but for us, our son really likes soup so if he didn´t eat at lunch time he would get soup in the late afternoon at around four o‘clock. Even our really picky daughter was looking forward to an earlier dinner.
How To Motivate Kids To Eat?
Sometimes, to motivate our children to eat, we used small sweets, as a reward for eating a portion of their main meal. We also found out that our son doesn't like eating alone so, if possible, we now make ourselves available. We prepare the table together and my son puts the food on the plates himself (if smaller children have a favourite hero, then the best choice is to use a plate or bowl with this figure on it).
I read that kids will accept new food after eight to twelve tastes, so offer frequently and don't be discouraged, try to make the child taste the new food. On the other hand, we all know that there are foods that we just don't want and won't eat, and this is the same for children, which is fine.
Final Tips For Little Eaters
- Too much food on a plate can discourage small children from eating or even decrease their appetite. It is important not to force the child to eat, as the pressure could cause the child to vomit and then refuse the food completely.
- Eating should be part of a regular regime from an early age. It is advisable for a family to eat together. The toddler can help prepare the table or help with the preparation of food to make them more involved. Make it easy for them to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
- It also helps not to compare children with others. It does not matter how large portions the child eats, but that they have enough of all necessary nutrients in their diet.