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In the Classroom: The Wild Things

Taking on a Picky Eater

In the Wild Things classroom, children’s eating habits are always a reccurring conversation teachers are having with parents. It seems that we have a lot of picky eaters in our classroom. One day a child will eat all of their lunch, the next day that same child will decide they are not at all interested in what was packed for them. 
For this age group, being a selective eater happens more often than you think. Once infants enter the toddler phase, it’s almost like a switch goes off that affects their eating habits. 
Selective eating tends to peak in the toddler years because of growth patterns. After growing so much during the first year of life and nearly tripling their birth weight, growth begins to slow down. Since young toddlers aren’t growing as rapidly as they were when they were infants, the toddlers need less food.  Additionally, their stomachs only have the capacity to hold smaller amounts of food.  
How do you get your child to become more interested in their lunch? Try packing a variety of different foods in small portions. Offering a variety of different foods allows children to make a choice in what they would like to eat versus only packing one or two items, which they may not be interested in on that particular day.
It is also important to switch food choices up every once in a while. Just like adults, some children get tired of eating the same foods from day to day, which can cause them to eat very little or possibly refuse lunch all together. 
Also, introducing new foods one at a time, alongside familiar foods is a great way to catch a picky eater’s interest and encourage them to try new things.
The best advice is to make lunch interest-grabbing by offering a variety of different foods, colors, and textures.  Basically, make lunches fun!