Chances are, if you are the parent of a picky eater, you’ve worried that your child is not getting the nutrition they need and you’ve tried many things to help them eat new foods. In desperation, you might have resorted to bribing, pressuring, or arguing with your child to get them to try something new, only to have this backfire and leave them more resolved to stick to their preferred foods. You may given up hope on introducing new foods, and just resigned to a rotation of the foods that your child has accepted.
As a naturopathic doctor-mom, I feel an enormous sense of responsibility in feeding my kids a balanced and varied diet, as I’m keenly aware of the health consequences of nutrient deficiencies and the benefits of eating a wide variety of foods. That’s why I was in for a rude awakening when my toddler, who would eat anything, started to turn into a preschooler with an ever-narrowing palate. This was the beginning of my journey to find new and fun ways to bring more variety to kids’ plates without the struggle.
Although I use the term ‘picky eating’ in my blog and website, because it is the term most parents use to describe this situation, I prefer and recommend using a more positive phrase such as ‘selective eater’, ‘discerning palate’, or ‘super-taster’ at home or when directly working with a child. When a child repeatedly hears others refer to them as a ‘picky eater’, it can reinforce their self-identity as someone who won’t try new foods. I often remind my own children and families that I work with that it can take many tries (there is no magic number, it could be 15+) before a new food tastes good to them. And also that it just takes longer for some kids to get more variety, and that’s okay! For me ‘the end of picky eating’ means not using the phrase ‘picky eater’ when interacting with our kids, and also employing strategies to help our kids develop greater variety in their diets.
In this blog and on this site, my goal is to present some easy and doable tips to help you expand your child’s palate, improve their nutrition, and make it easier for you to feed them at home or on the go!