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Meal time is a problem for many families. There are children who have a hard time trying new foods, are very lazy, or only want to eat the same things.

As with any other habit, you will need to have patience, perseverance and a lot of left hand .

Below we offer you some Ideas to help your child eat better:

1.- Detect what the problem is. Not all children eat poorly for the same reason, so you will have to analyze your child's specific situation. It could be that you don't like flavors, you're not hungry, you're tired... This is common when you spend the day away. Normally you eat worse, there are many activities, more excitement... In these cases it is normal that you are not hungry and what you need is sleep.

An important factor to take into account is whether you only eat poorly at home or eat poorly anywhere and under any circumstances. Taking this information into account will help you better address the situation.

2.- Create a positive environment around food. We understand that it can be exasperating when a child does not eat well since frustration is mixed with worry that he or she is not getting all the nutrients he or she needs. If this worries you, you may not know that nowadays we eat much more than we need and that one of the keys to health is eating well but in small quantities.

However, you must ensure that tension is not generated or forced to eat.

We want to warn you of a risk. If your child does not want to eat and you use distraction techniques such as telling a story, making an airplane or similar, your child may end up depending on these types of games and on you to eat.

Irritation , demands, punishments and attention that we give to the behavior of not eating, aggravate the problem and can lead to your child rejecting food.

On the other hand, for a good atmosphere it is very important to avoid distractions such as screens or games. It is a time to eat and share with the family while chatting about the day or sharing anecdotes.

EXAMPLE: What NOT to do

3.- Make him participate. Having your child take an active role when it comes to food is very positive. Let's look at some ideas to achieve this:

  • Involving him in preparing the menu. Once you have designed the menu, you can ask them to write it down and decorate it to hang it on the refrigerator. This entertains him and helps him anticipate what to eat.

  • Making the shopping list and going shopping. On the designed menu, you can list the foods that will be necessary and take responsibility for finding some of them in the supermarket.

  • Cooking. When children are young, they are curious about almost everything and they also love to imitate their parents. A good way to get them in contact with different foods and eat with more interest is through cooking. It depends on their age, but from a young age they can beat an egg, stir, read the recipe so that you don't forget any steps...

4.- Find the moment. Sometimes children do not eat because they have other needs, such as when they are sleepy. In that case it is better that they sleep and then eat.

On the other hand, it is important to devise schedules that, although flexible, provide an order to arrive at meals hungry and to be able to predict that it is time to eat . This increases the likelihood of eating everything on our plate.

5.- Give the meals in this order:

1st The dish you like the least. A small amount is served so that they gradually get used to the flavor, texture... When they finish it, they are offered a little more but if they don't want it, don't insist.

2nd The dish you like the most .

3rd Dessert.

If you are going to introduce a new food, do it when he is very hungry and then the food he likes as an incentive.

The foods that are more difficult for them to eat are given in small quantities and these are increased as they get used to them. A very useful resource is to try what you are eating. The power of imitation is impressive!

It is important that you do not make meals “to everyone's taste”. You should eat what you have planned. If they have other options they will never dare to try new things.

You should also keep in mind that your child's appetite may fluctuate. This is totally normal, in fact it also happens to adults. This means that there may be days when you leave a little on your plate and other days you may ask for more food. Although you have to maintain some minimums and make sure that he is well fed, we recommend that you be flexible and take all circumstances into account.

It may happen that your child does not show an appetite and does not want to eat. It's okay to occasionally skip a meal if it's for this reason . If your child usually has little hunger, it is better to avoid eating between meals to look forward to meals.

6.- Consequences. If you have a child who eats regularly or poorly, you can use the incentives as a motivator for improvements, no matter how small . Also, if the consequence is related to food, so much the better. Some examples could be: choosing a food to your liking, buying something in the supermarket that you want, making a recipe together... It is a good way to motivate as well as being constructive.

We also believe that it is important to teach how to eat well and have good table manners. At this point praise can be used not only by taking everything on the plate but by doing it alone, with your mouth closed, using the cutlery well, without putting your elbow on the table...

7.- And speaking of manners, what to do if your child repeatedly misbehaves at the table? If he makes a fuss, hits others, deliberately throws food on the floor... It is best to take him out. a while from the situation to calm it down. A good idea is to go to the calm corner now . Once calm, he returns to the table and if he misbehaves again, the meal is over. All this, as you already know, is notified in advance.

8.- If your child is very lazy or eats too slowly, you can use the clock technique . It consists of showing him a clock, preferably with hands, and telling him that when the hand reaches that number it will be time to eat. If not everything has been eaten in that time, the plate is removed and the leftovers are saved for the next time. We must give him enough time, although not excessive, and let him know from time to time simply telling him that time is running out.

If he already knows how to eat alone, don't make the mistake of doing it for him so that he can go faster. It is better to leave some food on the plate but eat alone.


As we always say, these types of techniques or strategies are warned in advance.

9.- Be a model. If you do not have good table manners, leave food on the plate, do not eat certain foods because you do not like them or are using screens during meals, you will not be able to ask your child for any of the things we have explained throughout the article. . Your attitude towards food is very important for your child to have a good relationship with it.

10.- If you want to make healthy and balanced menus , as well as delve into the topic of nutrition , we recommend this chapter: “Take care of your diet and acquire good eating habits”.


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