Kids can have strange eating habits. They might reject certain foods because of their color. They get fixated on one food and won’t eat anything else.
There’s no doubt kids love chicken nuggets. These tender little deep-fried bites can make any child clean his plate. That might be a relief when you just want your little one to eat something, but it can also get old. Chicken nuggets are hardly what you’d call a health food. They usually come from the frozen food section or a fast-food restaurant.
You’re worried about this nugget fixation, but the minute you try to feed your kid something else, you get a total refusal to eat.
Why Do Kids Only Eat One Food?
It’s part of their development as adults. They’re learning how to make their own decisions in life. You may not think eating chicken nuggets at every meal is a great decision, but it’s all part of the learning process.
Children don’t get to control much in their lives. Choosing a favorite food is one way of controlling what happens to them. It’s frustrating for you, but it’s part of their growth.
Keep Mealtimes Stress-Free
Mealtimes should be pleasant for the entire family. Picky eaters can sometimes let their guard down and eat other foods if they’re in a calm, relaxed setting.
Here are some ideas.
- Don’t allow smartphones or tablets at the table.
- Don’t schedule mealtimes close to your children’s bedtime.
- Never force your child to eat anything.
- Don’t bribe your child to eat.
What Can You Do About It?
The first thing to do is stay calm. Food fixations usually come and go on their own, and making a big deal out of it will just cause anxiety for both of you. Mealtime should be enjoyable. Don’t create tension by forcing your kid to eat an unwanted food.
If your kid is eating other foods and snacks, she is probably getting enough nutrients for now. As long as she is still energetic, plays, goes to school and otherwise acts normal, she’s probably fine.
Continue offering other foods as an option with each meal. Don’t discuss what your child is eating.
You may put up with this weird eating for a short time, but eventually you will have to get your kid back on a normal diet. When you’ve had enough nugget madness, there are things you can do to turn things around.
It’s Time to Say No to Nuggets
At some point, you have to put something that’s not chicken nuggets in front of your kids.
Don’t make a big deal out of it. Inform your kid that this is what’s for lunch or dinner. Don’t say anything about the chicken nuggets or the need to eat something different.
Your Child Is Not Going to Starve
You will probably get a response ranging from screams to sobs. Your kid may walk away from the plate.
Missing a meal will not hurt your child. Don’t chase him down. Don’t yell or plead with him.
You may have to do this more than once. Be firm. Remember, your child isn’t going to starve. Don’t let your kid’s nugget fixation ruin meals for everyone else.
What if you get a full-blown tantrum? You already know how to handle those. Stay calm and refuse to give in.
Should You Be Worried?
Getting stuck on a favorite food happens to a lot of children. Some get over it after a few days. Others can take weeks. If you stay calm and continue offering other food options at every meal, you can both get through this.