If you’ve ever scraped a plate of untouched veggies into the trash wondering how to get your kid to try Mr. Broccoli, then you’re in for a treat! Because we’re about to dive into all things nutrients & the Picky Eater diet — we promise that’s not an oxymoron. Ha!
But before we let you in on all the secrets of getting nutrients into a picky eater’s diet, let’s get a little refresher on what a nutrient is.
What is a nutrient?
We hear the term “nutrient” thrown around a lot — nutrient-dense, nutrient-poor, essential nutrients — yea, yea, we’ve heard ‘em, but what does it all mean?
Well, the all-powerful Google says that a nutrient is a substance that provides nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of life.
Cool, got it!
But you should also know that there are 2 types of nutrients:
Macronutrients are your protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Micronutrients are your vitamins and minerals.
So the terms “nutrient-dense and nutrient-poor” refer to the amount of these guys in your food.
Now there are some foods that don’t have much of these — these are your nutrient-poor foods such as:
- Soda & fruit drinks
- Candy & ice cream
- Baked goods
And on the other end of the seesaw, we have our nutrient-dense foods:
- Leafy greens
Ah, and here’s the picky eater dilemma — leafy greens aren’t exactly “yummy.” Which means nutrient-dense foods aren’t getting an invite to your kiddo’s lunch party.
So let’s jump into a few tips on what really works for a picky eater diet.
How to Get More Nutrients Into Your Kiddo’s Diet
1. Make it fun
This is a big one if you’re wondering how to encourage a picky eater toddler. Remember that kids want to have FUN! They’re little scientists exploring the world around them, so let them bring their imagination to the dinner table.
One way you can do this is by letting your kiddo play with food. This means touching and smelling to encourage the little explorer in them.
And rather than saying “one more bite,” try describing the food to spark their little imagination.
You can also let them be your little helper. They can help prepare dinner, set the table, or help with the grocery shopping.
2. Stick to a routine
One mistake many parents make is becoming a short order cook for their kiddos. You know, making one meal for the family and a different meal for the kids.
That’s a big no-no.
Instead, have family-style meals at set times to get your kid into a routine. Prepare one meal for everyone and make sure that at least one food your kiddo likes will be served.
3. Make healthy foods available
This ties in with having family-style meals. Your little one will get more exposure to healthy foods without the pressure.
Remember, it can take 15 -30 exposures to a new food before our picky eaters will give it a try.
Also, keep healthy snacks on hand — this might take a little prepping. We know how convenient bags of chips and fruit punch drinks are. But if we cut up apple slices and celery ahead of time, we’re less likely to reach for another microwaveable mac-n-cheese.
4. Watch out for hidden ingredients
It’s no secret — sugar is addicting. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye out for hidden sugar. Here are a few surprising sugar culprits:Cereal
- Granola bars
- Gummy Vitamins
These foods tend to be seen as “healthy” but are really just sugar bombs. So make sure you’re reading that nutrition label and sticking to foods with less ingredients.
5. Fill in nutrition gaps
Let’s face it, our modern eating habits aren’t healthy. Our kiddos are eating more saturated fats., drinking more sweetened beverages and eating less fruits and veggies. Which leads to nutrient deficiencies.
- Vitamin E
Getting more nutrients into our kiddo’s diet will not happen overnight. It’s about building better eating habits and a healthy relationship with food.
But in the meantime, we can fill in nutrition gaps with vitamin supplementation to make sure our kiddos are getting all the nutrients they need in these crucial developmental years!
So let's go over a few tips for proper vitamin supplementation.
Picky Eater Vitamins
When it comes to vitamin supplementation, many picky eater parents will go with a children’s multivitamin.
Or as we call it, every mom’s secret weapon!
Multivitamins are a great first step to filling nutrition gaps in your kid’s diet. Here are 4 tips to choosing a picky eater vitamin for kids.
However, if you know your little one is Vitamin D or Iron deficient — the top 2 most common deficiencies in healthy kids — then you might consider additional supplementation.
There are 2 forms you’ll find in stores:
- Vitamin D2
- Vitamin D3
Vitamin D2 is a cheaper form and less effective. You definitely want to go with the superior form, which is Vitamin D3.
Quick note on vitamins for vegan kids:
Vitamin D3 tends to come from animal-sources, so make sure your kiddo’s Vitamin D3 is 100% Vegan.
When it comes to Iron supplementation, you want to keep an eye out for tummy troubles and absorption.
Cheaper forms of iron can cause upset tummies and lower absorption. So do your research on what to look for in a high quality iron supplement for kids.
Don’t let your kiddo’s picky eating habits keep them from getting all the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.
We can help get more nutrients into their diet’s by remembering to:
- Make mealtimes fun
- Stick to a routine
- Make healthy foods available
- Watch out for hidden ingredients
- Fill in nutrition gaps
If you’re ready to give your kiddo a health boost with vitamins that are loaded with nutrition and free from junk, then check out Renzo’s picky eater vitamins.
Our Melty Tabs are loved by Picky Eaters & approved by Picky Parents!