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Help for the Picky Eaters

September 15, 2008

The New York Times recently ran a story “6 Food Mistakes Parents Make” that discusses why some kids are picky eaters. 

Many parents get frustrated when their kids will only eat Cocoa Puffs, Pop-Tarts or fast food and refuse to eat vegetables, whole grains and fruit. Fussiness is a normal part of childhood development and it’s important to not give up. Here are some ways to help your picky eaters:

  • Get your kids involved in the cooking process. Let them wash or chop vegetables. Studies show that when kids are involved in the meal preparation they are more likely to try the food.
  • Rather than demanding that your child eat at least one bite of everything, offer it to them once and keep it on the table. They may eat the food when you force them to, but they will be less likely to want it later on.
  • Instead of restricting foods like cookies or ice cream, try not to keep them in the house and opt for healthier snacks. Studies show that when you make something forbidden, they’ll just want it more.  
  • Watch your eating habits when your kids are around. If you’re on a diet, you can influence your child’s perceptions about food and eating.
  • Don’t be afraid to dress up the vegetables. Many parents serve plain, steamed vegetables which is too bland for a kid’s palate. Instead you can add Agave nectar, olive oil or sprinkle a little cheese on top.

These changes won’t happen overnight. It’s important to stick with it and you will notice a change. Let us know if you’ve already incorporated some of these tips and if they’ve helped.