Picky eating is often a stage that everyone experiences. It is often associated with period of rebellion or identity formation. Encouraging picky eaters to try new foods can be a trying process for parents and definitely requires patience. Researchers have shared that it takes at least 13 times for an individual to accept a new food, and that food must be in the same shape and form every time. For example, if one desires their child to try raw baby carrots, then one must present the child with raw baby carrots every time, no cooked carrots, sliced carrots, or shredded carrots, etc. Once one form of the fruit or vegetable is acceptable then it is safe to move on to new forms.
Also, many times there is more to picky eating than just a rebellious act. Autism spectrum disorder is highly associated with oral sensitivities and this includes aversions to certain textures, colors, feelings, etc. For these highly sensitive individuals it is important to start slow and grant them control and choice in the matter. Perhaps a first step would be to set the new food on a plate next to the child’s plate. The next step would be to set the food on their plate. Then, perhaps one invites the child to touch or smell the food. All of these steps come before daring to ask the child to taste the food.
The final strategy to combatting picky eating is to invite the child into the process and allow them to choose the new food and then join you at the grocery store to pick it out. Then, when it comes time to prepare the new food invite them to cook it with you, or at least wash it for you. They may also want to look up why this new food is a healthy addition of their family so, they can teach others why they chose it.
Again, picky eating can be a troublesome period, but a parent’s dedication to expanding their child’s palate will benefit them greatly the rest of their lives.
April Recipe: Greek Yogurt Vegetable Dip
- 18 ounce container Fat free Plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon parsley, dried
- 1 teaspoon dill, dried
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Pepper, to taste
Mince the shallot.
Measure out remaining ingredients and mix until combined.
Chill for at least 1 hour; serve cold.