If you have a picky eater, don’t despair. You are not alone. Many of my clients particularly those with autism) are very picky eaters – I’ve had children that could tell the difference between two lot numbers of a particular product and manufacturer. In a case like the above or when they gag at the sight of food, hypersensitivity to smell or taste should be considered, and sensory integration may be important. For the rest of you with picky eaters, here are some things you can do:
- Always provide food at the meal that your child likes in addition to the “new” food.
- Include a small portion of a new food and serve everyone at the table the same food
- Involve your children in food preparation of the “new” food (i.e., ask them to count enough carrot sticks for everyone, serve the broccoli, or stir the fruit salad).
- Let them try just a small taste – any tiny amount will do.
- Allow them to spit it out and not swallow it – teaching them a polite way to do so.
- Inform them of what to expect with the new food. Gain their trust slowly.
- Keep trying. Research show that children may need to be offered a new food at least eight or more times before they will try it. Introduce a new food 15 times. If at that point, the child is unwilling, simply move to a different food.