Are your kids’ picky eaters? How have you introduced them to new things?
by Haley Jackson, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Expecting Mom
Nutrition and fitness have always been something I’m very passionate about, and I strongly encourage all of my parents and patients to treat their bodies as temples. I like to use the metaphor of a car: If you don’t put the right type of gas in your car, it’s not going to run efficiently and may possibly break down, which is just like our bodies!
A few times a week, I am asked the loaded question of how to make their picky eater eat or try new foods, increase their vegetables or fiber in their diet, increase their appetite, etc. Unfortunately, there isn’t a prescription I can prescribe to make this happen overnight. It’s all about consistent parenting & positive reinforcement!
Toddlers and children can be tough as they learn to become independent and are exploring the world around them. However, we still have to make sure they are treating their little bodies in the best way that we can as they grow big & strong.
After researching the American Academy of Pediatric recommendations as well as discussing with a fellow picky toddler mom here are my five tips for the picky eaters!
5 Tips for The Picky Eaters
- Eat main meals TOGETHER at the table as a family, as often as possible. Avoid letting your child “grazing” or eating on the go, leaving the table to play, or having any electronics during meals
- Serve your child and the rest of the family the same meal. The more a child learns they can get a specially prepared “kids meal”, the more they will expect it. Resist the urge to give in to your child with foods they will eat (hot dogs, chicken nuggets, pizza, etc), a child will not starve from missing one or two meals
- Involve your child in meal prep! Allow your child to help pick the vegetables/fruits from a local farm or go shopping at the local farmers market. Children, especially toddlers & preschoolers, LOVE to help in the kitchen, and in return are more likely to eat what they help prepare. Dips & sauces are fun for kids to experiment with! Also, consider special food nights:
- Create your own pizza
- Taco or baked potato bar
- Breakfast Buffet
- If your child refuses a vegetable or certain food, continue to offer the food a few times a week. Also, consider hiding the particular food in smoothies, soups, or sauces. Also, only bring into your home what you want your child to eat
- Try to avoid eating fast food frequently. If you do need to choose fast food, try to pick a restaurant with healthy options, such as fresh fruit instead of fries. Allow your child to have a couple of options so they feel in control, but always set boundaries
Stay strong mamas & don’t feel defeated if your child has a meltdown over food – it’s normal!
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Author of A Mom’s Daily Dosage Blog
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