Tips for picky eaters

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, Development/Milestones: Babies

An entry on HealthAtoZ asks if dinnertime become a food fight with your toddler or preschooler? Suddenly your child, who ate so well as a baby, declares it's nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and dismisses veggies with a big "yuck." Perhaps he's got a problem with two foods touching on his plate, or has a thing against eating anything green, or maybe he decides yogurt is the food of choice for breakfast - for let's say, two weeks. After that, he hates it.

Coping with picky or unpredictable eaters can be frustrating for parents, but as frustrating as it can be, try not to let mealtime become a battleground. The following tips were offered for picky eaters:
  • Introduce new foods regularly. The more you offer new foods, the greater variety of foods he or she will eat.
  • Don't give up and stop offering a food just because your child has rejected it several times.
  • Set a good example by eating healthy food yourself.
  • Control the food you bring into the house, avoiding junk foods, such as high-fat chips, cookies, and cakes.
  • Don't bribe or force your child to eat. Bribing is bad because a child usually thinks, "This must really be bad" if they're bribing me.
  • Don't push food or force him to clean his or her plate; a child's appetite is less than a quarter of an adult's .
  • Don't threaten or punish a child for not eating.
  • Let him or her make choices. As long as he or she is picking nutritious foods, it's OK to allow your child to pick what to eat. Offer healthy snacks in between mealtime.
We are currently having eating issues with our two year-old, Devon. He prefers to eat only vanilla yogurt and vanilla soy milk at all of his meals. He will settle for potato chips, if he can get his mitts on them. We are trying to introduce small amounts of new foods and we are very patient when he refuses them or ignores them. It is a slow process and one I will be glad to eventually get through.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.