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Help for Parents of Picky Eaters: Nine Tips You Can Use Today

Apr 18, 2008
Most picky eaters will, at some point, outgrow their finicky tastes. And while that's some consolation, a picky eater can sure make family meal times frustrating.

Here are nine tips that may help your picky eater broaden their culinary horizons:

1. Involve your child in the shopping and cooking. Take your picky eater with you to the grocery store. Ask him for ideas on what kinds of foods he would like to have for breakfast, lunches, snacks, and dinner. Then ask your child to help you make dinner now and then. When a child is involved in getting the food to the table, he may be more likely to try new foods.

2. When you are cooking (and when you are dishing out each child's portion) give as many options as possible. This can really help to empower the child and help you to avoid power struggles. Our children love pasta bars and taco bars, where they can make their own choices, within the parameters that we set out on the table.

3. Make sure your children aren't filling up on snacks or drinks before mealtime. Even juice can make her tummy full enough that she won't want to sit down and eat a nutritious meal.

4. Keep your child's portion relatively small. A plate that's mounded with food may turn a child off. Also, allow your child to determine how hungry they are. Some days, my kids can really pack the food away; other days they don't want much to eat at all.

5. Invite your children's friends over for lunch and dinner occasionally. When your kids see their friends eating something that they may consider rather exotic, they may be more apt to try it.

6. Give your child a daily multivitamin as a "safety net" for the nutrients he may not yet be getting in his diet. At your next pediatrician's visit, discuss your child's eating habits and ask if there is cause for concern.

7. Give your kids a variety of textures and get them hooked on healthy foods while they are relatively young. If young kids start out eating a lot of sweet treats, they'll be less likely to make fruits and vegetables the backbone of their diet.

8. Meet your kids halfway. It has really helped us to put out at least one food on the table that our children love, so that, even if the main dish isn't their favorite, their favorite vegetable choice, for example, is one on the table.

9. Model a healthy diet. Make sure that you fuel your own body with delicious, healthy foods. When your children see you eating a healthy, diverse diet, they will be more likely to eventually make good choices, too.
About the Author
Jamie Jefferson writes for Momscape.com and Susies-Coupons.com, where she shares food and grocery coupons as well as Entertainment Book coupons.
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