Friday, July 22, 2016

Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters


Every parent wants to ensure that their child eats a variety of healthy foods. However, if your child is a picky eater, food can become the subject of a daily power struggle. While it's not uncommon for children to refuse to eat certain foods or limit their choices to a handful of predictable favorites, there are several things parents can do to help encourage healthier habits.  Here are some tips and tricks that can help your child overcome picky eating! 



The one bite rule; is it truly helpful?


Many parents encourage their picky eaters to try "just one bite" of a new food in an attempt to expose their children to new tastes in a non-threatening way.  While this may work for some kids, for others it might increase the power struggle. If your child falls into the second group, do not despair. Food sociologist Dina Rose has even suggested that asking your child to try "just one bite" of something may send the subtle message that they probably won't like a second bite. For alternatives to the "one bite rule" check out these 10 suggestions from registered dietitian Sally Kuzemchak. 

It's okay to not like certain foods


Although it can be difficult for parents, it is perfectly normal for kids to not like certain foods. If your child tries a food and doesn't enjoy it, don't force them to eat it. Kids should be able to love the food they are eating, including healthy options. On the other hand, don't hesitate to try offering different colors, different textures, and different ways of preparing food. Kids are more likely to eat fun colors and familiar shapes. Check out Sneaky Nutrition on Pinterest for some fun ideas on sneaking in fruits and vegetables into your kid's diets!


Let your kids help make their own food

Not only is this important for teaching children to become more self-sufficient, but kids are more likely to eat something that they made themselves! Although kids don't have to help make every meal, helping with a couple during the week can introduce kids to the joy of cooking and help them become more familiar with healthy foods.  As a rule, make only one meal for the entire family and avoid making special meals for your picky eater.  Try to always have at least on thing on the menu that your child will eat, as well as something new.  This can help introduce the new food without overwhelming your child.


To review:


Do
Don’t
Do consistently offer healthy options
Don’t force kids to eat
Do include at least one food your child will eat
Don’t use food as a reward
Do model healthy eating patterns
Don’t make special meals for the picky eater
Do let children help prepare their meals
Don’t let TV or tablets interfere with meal time.

Finally, try sharing one or more of these recommend books with your picky eater! 

 I Will Ever Not Never Eat a Tomato
 Too Pickely
 The Prince's Breakfast
 Good Enough to Eat
Green Eggs and Ham
Pretend Soup

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