What to Do When the Picky Eater Emerges
When children begin testing their limits, picky eating emerges and power struggles oftentimes surface. “Finish your vegetables so you can have dessert,” and “There are plenty of people in (insert country) who would love to be eating your dinner,” are familiar phrases in many households. However, these do not create long-term healthy habits with food. Empowerment and respect do. There are three important ways to speak to your picky eater … and ease your anxiety during family dinner!
- Trust that when your child feels full, he or she will stop eating.
Everybody has the innate ability to recognize when they are full, so let your kids build upon their ability to feel when they’re full from a young age. It’s unrealistic to expect kids to eat a large portion or to eat a little of everything served at each and every meal. How much they eat will vary from day to day and meal to meal. Factors such as growth, daily activity, and tiredness all play a part in how hungry your child is. Stay in your role, with parents providing a healthy variety of foods and children deciding how much to eat.
- Teach your child how to make healthy choices on his or her own.
Allow your child to be involved in your family’s food decisions by bringing him or her to the grocery store and making a game out of shopping for healthy, colorful fruits and vegetables. Give them a couple of healthy choices to choose from at the store and empower them by letting them make the decision. For example, “Should we have red peppers or orange peppers with our fajitas?” At dinnertime, involve everyone in meal preparation. There are age appropriate jobs for everyone in your family. Then, watch and feel proud when you see them serving themselves heaping servings of the vegetables they “helped” buy and make for dinner.
- Gently and frequently introduce your child to new foods.
Children need to be offered new foods between ten to twenty times before they “learn” to like them. Be consistent in offering nutritional choices but remember to be patient. Keep in mind that your child may prefer a type of food prepared one way over the other. Whether you steam your broccoli, roast it, or enjoy it raw, preparation is oftentimes the key!
By remaining true to your values as a parent and continuing to put healthy foods, like Mom Made Foods, in front of your child, picky eating doesn’t stand a chance. The best part? You’ll empower him or her to make healthy decisions on his or her own. It’s ultimately easier on the parents and the biggest bonus is you set your child up for a life lived healthfully!
About Mom Made Foods
The Mid-Atlantic’s first USDA-organic certified producer of frozen foods for children, Mom Made is available nationwide in chain stores such as Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Kroger, ShopRite, Wegmans, Whole Foods, and more local chains and independent stores as well as on Amazon.com.