Thanksgiving should be a time filled with family, food and festivities. Yet, with picky eaters in the family, many parents find themselves feeling anxious about the possibility of hungry meltdowns and judgmental onlookers. Don’t let the uncertainties of the meal or the pressure of the day create a stressful situation for you and your child.
Include Your Child in the Meal Prep Process Children of all ages can be included in food preparation. Whether it’s setting the table, placing marshmallows on the sweet potatoes, or mixing ingredients, involving children in the process can engage them in eating more when it comes time to sit at the table.
Set Realistic Table Expectations Prepare your children for the upcoming meal by simply talking. Have an honest discussion with older children about realistic expectations and seek to minimize the tears and anxiety by limiting surprises. Today isn’t the day to assume your picky eater will enjoy the entire holiday feast, but don’t allow them to skip the meal in favor of the plethora of desserts lining the counters. Often times, picky eating is about control. By limiting the energy you spend worrying, you limit your child’s ability to control the situation.
Make a Simple Dish Special for Your Picky Eater It may seem counter intuitive, but preparing one or two simple dishes your child is sure to love, can make the holiday meal a much more enjoyable experience for you both. Combining the tried and true favorites with other simple dishes, such as plain turkey can ensure your child leaves the table full and happy.
Enjoy the Meal Before You and People Around You Thanksgiving isn’t a time to obsess over the “what if’s,” it is a time to join with the people you love around the table, enjoy a delicious meal and celebrate the many blessings in our lives. Rather than focusing on what you child is or isn’t eating, be thankful for what’s important, the family and friends around you. Years from now, your Thanksgiving memories won’t be highlighted by the number of bites your child ate, but the stories created by being together.