Picky eaters or selective eaters are also known as ‘food neophobics’ according to the scientists. They are diagnosed with the symptom of aversion towards food, even unwilling to try new sample of foods. Mostly children have food neophobia. However this phase is temporary. Forcing a picky eater to eat food or try new dishes often end with negative results. Hence in the terms of tasting new foods, people have to be very generous and patient with them. It has been examined from medical records that this behavior has encouraged a lot of picky eaters, especially kids to try new foods. Further scientifically it is proved that tasting a new food for seven to thirteen times a day, help in the acceptance of the new food. However in any case, forceful methods should not be applied. Gently persuading the eater will produce stronger outcome than exerting force.
The tips to be followed while dealing with the picky eaters
- In the food, unhealthy and junk food should not be introduced to make him/her like the food more.
- A proper eating time should be scheduled.
- Introduce more amount of healthy and nutritious food that he/she likes already.
- All the eating habits should be practiced at the dining table. No distractions like television, mobiles or computer or even books should be allowed while eating.
- More colors have to be introduced in the meal. However this should not mean the inclusion of artificial colours. Colourful vegetables should be introduced in larger quantities. This not only helps in providing the adequate nutrients, but also increases interest and attraction towards food, particularly observed in the case of children.
- Finger foods can also be included, like fruits and vegetable chunks.
- Particularly for children, while shopping for groceries, you can ask your child the various food items he/she wants to take.
- Do not force meals and large quantities of food during meal time. If your child stops eating, it means he/she is full. Respect that and do not force.
- Inclusion of goodies at certain times like oreos and cookies will make the child interested towards healthy foods also
- Being a proper role model is very important in dealing with picky eaters. So include more vegetables and healthy items in your meals, the children will automatically tend to follow it.
Besides all these, creativity is also very important. Sometimes tasty yet nutritious food can be cooked with the available vegetables and cereals. Make it and let your child try it. Be patient with the new food. Of he/she rejects, do not force. Calmly respect his/her decisions. This is a temporary phase and it will soon pass. However, there is an exception to this symptom also. There are adult picky eaters. Often the phase becomes permanent and continues for some more time.
Therefore the few tips for adult picky eater are-
- Acquisition of a stress-free meal time. Stress has become an inevitable part in the world of twenty-first century as also the lack of time. Therefore often minimal time is provided to the course of meals. Likewise some meals are skipped or a small quantity is eaten at a great hurry. This should be strictly avoided.
- The adult picky eaters can themselves turn into chefs. Cooking can be a fun leisure and hobby. Further eating self-cooked food often generates interest in meals.
- Try experiencing new food one at a time. This will not cause over-burdening or stress. If you do not feel, do not taste new food because there is no hard and fast rule to experience new food.
- Do not lose hope. Keep on trying and soon you will develop interest in new food and trying them.