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Managing The “Fickle Foodie Phase” – How To Get Your Kiddo Munching At Mealtime

When you’ve got a picky eater at home, meals can be a real misery. Although doctors don’t know what causes kiddos to lose interest in certain foods, pediatricians assure us it’s a common (and annoying!) part of child development.

When you’ve got a picky eater at home, meals can be a real misery. Although doctors don’t know what causes kiddos to lose interest in certain foods, pediatricians assure us it’s a common (and annoying!) part of child development.

So, what is a new momma to do about this dining dilemma? First off, keep your cool. Creating unnecessary drama will only make your cooking conundrum worse. Little ones sometimes use mealtime moods to test whether they can get you to overreact.      

If you’re still struggling to coax your kiddo to eat new foods, then check out my tips below! In this post, I’m sharing three fab foodie hacks to get rid of all your feeding time frustrations.    

But before I share these terrific tips, let’s review a crucial distinction between typical “food fussiness” and more severe food phobias.

When Food Fears Are More Than A Phase – Warning Signs Every Momma Should Know

As I just mentioned, it’s common for little ones to get a bit fussy at the dinner table — but there is a limit. In fact, child psychologists recently coined the disease “Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)” to draw a line between “healthy” picky eating and a more serious issue.

So, how do you tell the difference between picky eating and an eating issue? For starters, kids more prone to ARFID often have volcanic tantrums when presented with new foods. You might also notice your toddler gag or vomit at mealtime. If your little one is losing weight, avoids eating entire food categories, or eats less than 15 foods per day, then there’s a good chance something more serious is going on.  

Thankfully, if you catch these warning signs early enough, professional child nutritionists can tame your toddler’s taste buds. As always, if you have any concerns over your little ones eating habits, please speak with your pediatrician ASAP.

My Top Three Picky Toddler Eating Tips

Even though fussy eating is widespread, there are plenty of sneaky ways to get your kiddo to eat a diverse diet. Here are three super simple tips for getting your picky toddler to eat more than mac & cheese.

Try New Foods Earlier In The Day

Although we don’t know precisely what causes kiddos to push aside perfectly good food, some pediatricians argue it might have something to do with “information overload.” When you think about it, toddlers have to learn a lot of new tricks quickly. After so many hours spent walking, talking, and reading, some kiddos just want reliable “comfort food” at the end of the day.

The best way to combat this kind of “foodie fatigue” is to schedule new foods for breakfast or lunch. It’s far more likely your kiddo will be willing to try exotic flavors when they’re wide awake. If you’ve got a particularly fussy eater, place a tiny sampling of new food next to your little one’s mid-day meal.    

Managing Picky Eaters IG Post

Eat What You Preach! – Lead By Example

The best way for mommas to win the mealtime mind games is to set a positive example. Instead of forcing your fussy eater to try a bite of cauliflower, bring out your inner actress and sell that cruciferous veggie with some commercial-worthy “yums!” Be sure to ask for extra help hamming up your delish veggies with friends or family at the table.

If you’re enjoying your meal, then chances are your little ones will want to give it a try. Remember, children are master imitators; use this to your advantage when you’re trying to introduce a new food.

Get Your Kiddos Cookin’

Another effective way to get your kiddo excited about mealtime is to invite them into the kitchen for age-appropriate prep work. Assign your little chef a few simple tasks like picking fresh herbs, washing fruit, or adding a pinch of salt & pepper.

Since your little one’s ego is involved in the meal preparation, it’s more likely they’ll proudly eat whatever foods they’ve had a hand in making. As a bonus, these early cooking adventures will teach your kiddo essential kitchen strategies that last a lifetime.  

To help inspire your first kid-friendly kitchen sessions, be sure to read through this previous post with four super-simple recipe ideas.

Please Remember Patience When Working With Picky Eaters!

I know how annoying picky eating can be, but please take comfort in the fact that it’s usually just a phase. Although it might take a dozen tries to get your kiddo to try something new, most mommas find that patience and persistence eventually pay off.  

If your kiddo still shrugs away multiple meals after using my picky toddler tips, I recommend speaking with a certified pediatrician. Thankfully, there are many strategies trained nutritionists can use to correct even the most stubborn cases of food phobia.