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What’s on the Plate? Thanksgiving Feast for a Picky Eater

Oct 20, 2020

picky eater

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. You just know that little Joey will be turning some heads at the table when he flat out refuses to eat his green bean casserole, stuffing, and turkey. What is meant to be a relaxing time with family has transformed into a stressful battle with food. What’s a parent to do with their picky eater?

Considering Feeding Therapy

Thanksgiving may be associated with food, but keep in mind that youngsters greatly vary on what foods they are willing to accept. In a previous blog, we discuss the difference between a picky eater and a problem feeder. To summarize, a picky eater will accept more foods into their repertoire in relation to the problem feeder. A problem feeder is more likely to have sensory issues with textures and refuse foods even when they’re hungry. They may be known to gag at the dinner table and have anxiety around food. If your youngster falls more into the problem feeder category, you’ll definitely want to seek feeding therapy from an occupational therapist so that they can make mealtime a happier and easier time for the whole family.

picky eater

Picky Eater Preparedness

Now is the time to start preparing your picky eater for Thanksgiving. If you know your kiddo is going to refuse a certain type of food, take it upon yourself to make sure there is a type of food on the table that your kiddo does enjoy. You may even decide to let them choose a dish for the table. After all, Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy good company and to reflect on all that you’re grateful for. Dreading the thought of eating a type of food can take away from that experience for everyone. Redirect your energy to having a good time for the day.

Routine is Everything… Most of the Time

There’s no denying that Thanksgiving is a day that throws off schedules. Families tend to eat at different times, not to forget hours of meal prep. Be okay with the day falling out of its normal rhythms. If your picky eater selects only a few dishes for their plate, know that for today it is okay. As long as your kiddo is embracing the holiday with family, you can rest easy knowing that this is what coming together is all about. Besides, you can plan to fall back into regular patterns the following day.

picky eater

Take it for a Test Drive

If there are foods that will be on the table that your kiddo isn’t familiar with, consider making a few dishes in advance to see how they respond. You might be able to gauge why they don’t like a certain food and then recreate that food in a different way. For example, if your child isn’t a fan of mushy foods, you may try baked potatoes instead of mashed potatoes. Adding spices and flavor to food might also make your kiddo more likely to eat it. Keep trying to see what works at bringing a smile to your child’s face.

Just Keep Cooking, Cooking, Cooking

For a bonding experience, you might have your kiddo help with some of the cooking, especially if they are a selective picky eater. Doing so gives them a sense of accomplishment and may even encourage them to eat a dish they helped create. You can also try a few brand-new dishes with your kiddo in mind. Search for fresh online recipes that will cause the family to go back for seconds.

picky eater

Pass the Gravy

Thanksgiving can be a stressful holiday if you let it, so focus on letting go this year. Remember that this day is about family time, gratitude, and enjoying the foods that you like. If your child struggles with eating a wide variety of foods, go ahead a let that stay on the backburner for the day. Pass the gravy at a dinner that’s fully enjoyed.

Problems with eating are never any fun no matter the day. Reach out if you feel that feeding therapy would benefit your kiddo.

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