Helpful Ways To Combat The Picky Eater

Your older child loved her veggies from the day she could chew. Your younger one thinks vegetables are none of his business. One friend tells you it’s a power struggle, another says he’ll grow out of it; your pediatrician says it’s not an option. All the while, you’re getting a lesson in just how strong a child’s closed jaw can be!

When dealing with kids who won’t eat certain foods, it’s best to remember that different toddlers refuse foods for different reasons. Food phobias, sensitivities and allergies do exist. Very often, though, it is the very real fear of new things.

Show as much patience with new foods as you would when they try new schools or new friends. It might not happen overnight. Don’t overwhelm; serve smaller portions and allow them to ask for more. Though it may be counter-intuitive, respect your child’s appetite; if they insist they’re full, don’t make them finish the plate. This will make them see dinnertime as a stressful time. If you truly believe they’re full too soon, it’s possible they are filling up on snacks or sugary juices during the day. Encourage water instead of juice as much as possible.

Don’t bribe with gifts or desserts. Deals and bribes are often what lead to power struggles, and we also don’t want to send messages that the meal is something to be endured to get to the reward.

Finally, Be Creative – Be Fun! Parents love to share ideas online on how to present and prepare food in exciting, new ways. Use brightly colored foods, involve the kids in choosing, and even preparing- this is a wonderful opportunity to have them tell you what they’ve learned about their “power foods” in Amazing Athletes, and why those foods are so good for us!

Above all, set a good example, be patient, and have fun! They’ll follow the lead!


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