Problem Solving Tips For Parents Of Picky Eaters

If you are the parent of a picky eater, chances are you have tried many different tactics in an attempt to get your child to eat healthy foods. Eating a well-balanced diet is important at all ages but is especially important for young children to ensure they receive the nutrients they need for their growing bodies. In addition, establishing healthy habits at a young age helps to ensure that your child will continue to make healthy choices as they enter adulthood.

If you are concerned about your child’s picky eating habits and want to help ensure that your child eats a well- balanced diet, try these tips:

  1. Role model good eating habits- Children pay very close attention to the adults around them and learn from their behaviors. If they see mom and dad drinking their milk and eating their vegetables, they are more likely to do so as well.
  2. Get your kids involved- Include your child in meal planning, grocery shopping and meal preparation. At the grocery store, encourage your child to pick out a new fruit or vegetable each week for the family to try. Also let your children help you prepare meals. Depending on their age, they can help with activities such as mixing up a salad or putting toppings on a pizza.
  3. Be patient- Children often need to be exposed to new foods many times before they will want to try it or enjoy eating it. So don’t give up on a food just because they didn’t like it the first time they tried it. Keep putting small amounts on their plate and you may be surprised when one day they ask for more.
  4. Make healthy foods fun- Think outside the box when it comes to foods that your children won’t eat. Cut fruits or vegetables into fun shapes or think up silly names for foods and they may be more likely to give it a try.
  5. Don’t be afraid to add dip- To make healthy foods more appealing, consider serving them with some dip. For instance, serve raw vegetables with a small amount of ranch dip or allow them to dip sliced fruit in their favorite flavored low-fat yogurt.
  6. Be Creative - Think of ways to incorporate healthy foods into your child’s favorite foods. Next time you have macaroni and cheese, try adding some cooked broccoli or slice some bananas onto your child’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

7.     Don't become a short-order cook - Aim to serve all family members the same meal rather than preparing something different for picky eaters.  Although it is OK to occasionally honor true food dislikes, making a habit of short-order cooking sends the message that your child is not expected to eat the food that you prepare for them and also may discourage them from trying unfamiliar or new foods.

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