Encouraging Picky Eaters
Tips for Parents
- Breastfeed your child for longer than 6 months. Children who are breastfed are exposed to a variety of tastes and are more likely to have a diverse diet as they get older.
- Provide regularly scheduled sit-down meals and snacks for your children, and eat with them at the table.
- Don't become a short-order cook: If your child does not like what you have prepared, then allow him to fill up on the other foods that you are offering, such as bread and butter.
- Keep meal times pleasant and relaxed. Wars over broccoli can wait.
- Provide a variety of foods. Try to include one choice from each food group: protein (meat, poultry, beans, fish, or peanut butter), fruits & vegetables (try to provide a variety of colors), grains (bread, tortillas, rice, or pasta), dairy (milk, cheese or yogurt) and fat (butter, margarine or dressing).
- Avoid forcing, coaxing, punishing, or bribing your child to eat anything.
- Introduce new foods with familiar foods.
- Be patient. Children are naturally hesitant to try new things. Expect to expose your child to a food 10-50 times before your child will even taste it.
Family Meal Time
- Research has proven that family meals promote healthier eating: more fruits and vegetables on the plate and less fried and high calorie foods.
- Here are a few tips to make family meal time fun:
- Have a family picnic! If it's too cold or rainy outside, throw a blanket on the living room floor.
- Turn off all "screens" and sit together as a family
- Try some funny conversation starters, like "If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one thing with you, what would it be?," "If you could be anyone famous, who would you be and why?," or "What was the best and worst part of your day?"
- Spice up the monthly menu by letting each family member plan one dinner per month.
- Schedule family meal times. Even if you only have time for fast food, take time to sit together before running to after school activities.
For more tips, visit kidseatright.org