Do You Have a Picky Eater in Your Family?

Here are a few ideas for helping your child transition to a healthier diet:
Involve your child. Children of all ages can help with menu planning and meal preparation. Children who feel they have had a part preparing the meal will be more likely to eat it. In fact, that is how my daughter started eating eggs. She had seen a video of eggs “over easy” and wanted to make them herself. Sure enough, she ate it and continued eating it as she wanted to perfect her technique.
Introduce a wide variety of foods. Offer a variety of foods. Even if your child eats only two bites, he will understand that these are the foods that make up a healthy diet.
Don’t give up. Many children will not accept a new food until it has been offered at least ten times. Continue to offer new foods until your child considers them familiar. Children need to try those foods 20 to 30 times. My favorite example of this is when my daughter saw me eating black olives. As a toddler, she would come up to me and ask “mama bite” and I’d offer her an olive. She’d lick it and reply “no like”. After licking olives 20 or more times, she finally ate a whole olive, liked it and asked for more. Twelve years later, she still loves black olives and they are a staple on her pizza.
Introduce foods one bite at a time. Some children become overwhelmed by large quantities of food on their plate. A whole serving of broccoli may seem intimidating at first. Offer a small broccoli floret instead. They will feel more successful if they can finish a small quantity of food you have provided.
Institute the “two-bite” rule by asking them to eat two bites of each item on their plate. Children’s food preferences change frequently. What they don’t like on Wednesday might be a great hit on Friday and vice versa.
Consider the possible unspoken meanings of “I don’t like it.” “I don’t like it” might really mean “I’d rather have a cookie” or “I’m not in the mood for that right now.” Insist on the two-bite rule.
With our current busy lives, as parents, it is often easier to give in and give them the cookie or food that they are accustomed to eating. Changing eating patterns and converting a picky eater takes time and perseverance. Make new food introduction fun and stress free. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
Dr. Alene Falomo, ND
The information above is intended for informational purposes only. Always consult with your health care provider if this is suitable for you.

Posted in

Alene Falomo