How to Deal with Picky Eaters

Aug 01, 2017

how to deal with picky eaters

Dealing with a picky eating is one of parenting's biggest challenges. You worry if your child is getting enough calories and enough nutrients to grow properly. Luckily, the Mayo Clinic has advice on how to combat picky eating, and how to get your child to enjoy a variety of foods!

Tip #1: Don't force food. If your child isn't hungry for a meal or snack, don't make them eat it.. And don't force your child to eat certain foods or clean his or her plate. What this will do is start a power struggle over food. Plus, your child might start to associate mealtime with anxiety and frustration, or become less sensitive to his or her own hunger and fullness cues, which can lead to eat disorders later in life.

Tips #2: Don't overwhelm your child. Serving large portions is overwhelming and anxiety-inducing for children. Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child and give him or her the opportunity to independently ask for more (which is what you want).

Tip #3: Stick to a routine. Serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day. If you child doesn't want to eat a meal like breakfast or lunch, a regular snack time can offer another chance to eat nutritious food.

Tip #4: Don't let them fill up on milk or juice. You can offer milk or 100 percent juice (don't offer those sugar-filled juice "drinks") with the meal, but only allow water between meals and snacks. Too much juice or milk throughout the day might decrease his or her appetite for meals.

Tip #5: Be patient with new food. Unfamiliar food is unexplored territory for a child. Let them have repeated exposure to new food before expecting them to try it or enjoy it. And serve it next to familiar food, so your child will feels a sense of comfort and less apprehension. 

Tip #6: Don't make another meal. Preparing another, different meal for your child after he or she rejects the original meal can promote picky eating. Encourage your child to stay at the table for the designated mealtime — even if he or she doesn't eat. Once he or she is hungry enough, your child will eat, even if it takes a few instances of refusing a meal.

What do you think? Do you have any other tips for dealing with picky eaters? Let us know in the comments!

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