125 Tips For Picky Eaters Children From Picky Eaters Clinic Jakarta Indonesia

125 Tips For Picky Eaters Children From Picky Eaters Clinic Jakarta Indonesia

  1. Respect your child’s appetite — or lack of one If your child isn’t hungry, don’t force a meal or snack. Likewise, don’t bribe or force your child to eat certain foods or clean his or her plate. This might only ignite — or reinforce — a power struggle over food. In addition, your child might come to associate mealtime with anxiety and frustration. Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child and give him or her the opportunity to independently ask for more.
  2. Set a good example If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.
  3. Be creative Add chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce, top cereal with fruit slices, or mix grated zucchini and carrots into casseroles and soups.
  4. Minimize distractions Turn off the television and other electronic gadgets during meals. This will help your child focus on eating. Keep in mind that television advertising might also encourage your child to desire sugary foods.
  5. Don’t offer dessert as a reward Withholding dessert sends the message that dessert is the best food, which might only increase your child’s desire for sweets. You might select one or two nights a week as dessert nights, and skip dessert the rest of the week — or redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt or other healthy choices.
  6. Don’t label your child as a ‘picky eater.’ The French believe that taste is a skill that can be acquired (and should be taught), much like reading. In other words, picky eating isn’t (barring medical issues) innate, but rather learned. They believe that children can learn to eat, and like, all kinds of food. And this is what they tell their children! Try telling your children: “You’ll like that when you’re a bit more grown up.” Expect kids to develop a wider palate and — eventually — they will (particularly if you model this yourself!). The French know this takes years, so be patient!
  7. Ask children to taste everything you’ve prepared, even if they don’t eat it. Scientific research shows that children need to taste a new food, on average, anywhere from 7 to 12 times before they will accept to eat it. Looking at it isn’t enough — they have to taste it! Positive peer pressure (particularly from other children who like the foods you’re introducing) also works wonders.
  8. Introduce your child to new foods before you serve them. Sounds silly, but often works wonders. For example, show your child a raw beet (better yet, go to the local market and let them choose one to take home). Let them touch it, and smell it. Cut it open, and let them look at the intense colour. Then try a variety of ways of introducing beets to your family. Beet popsicles are a family favourite, as is beet salad! When a child says “I don’t like that food”, they often mean “I don’t know it.” The above exercise helps increase familiarity, and thus acceptance.
  9. Talk less about health, and more about good tastes. In France, parents don’t cajole with nutritional information (such as explanations that a food has a lot of iron or calcium). Parents say: “Taste this, it’s really yummy”, rather than “Eat this: it’s good for you.” They believe (and tell their children), that good-for-you foods taste good. Healthy eating habits are a happy byproduct. Broccoli? Yum!
  10. Stick with a schedule (and limit snacks to one–or at most two–per day). French children have three meals a day, and one snack (yes, even the teenage boys): breakfast, lunch, goûter (late-afternoon snack) and dinner. Snacking is forbidden at school (no vending machines, and no fast food either!), and parents wouldn’t dream of putting their kids in activities during the dinner hour (nine out of ten French families eats a sit-down dinner together every night). Children are hungrier at mealtimes, and tend to eat better; serve energy-dense foods, and they won’t feel hungry until their next mealtime. (For a sampling of the types of meals French children eat, check out the French Kids School Lunch page, where I post menus from different French schools every week).
  11. Don’t be a short-order cook Preparing a separate meal for your child after he or she rejects the original meal might promote picky eating. Encourage your child to stay at the table for the designated mealtime — even if he or she doesn’t eat. Keep serving your child healthy choices until they become familiar and preferred.
  12. Stick to the routine Serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day. Provide juice or milk with the food, and offer water between meals and snacks. Allowing your child to fill up on juice or milk throughout the day might decrease his or her appetite for meals.
  13. Be a role model and set a good example yourself by enjoying a variety of different foods.  Offer your child a taste of what you are eating.
  14. Persevere – keep trying, a child may need to be exposed to a new food up to 10 times before they will eat it.  Start with a few mouthfuls offered regularly.
  15. Try presenting a meal “buffet style” with bite-sized servings, and allow your child to choose what and how much goes on their plate.  Remember, don’t overwhelm them with choices, two options is plenty.
  16. Offer a nibble tray. Toddlers like to graze their way through a variety of foods, so why not offer them a customized smorgasbord? The first tip from the Sears’ kitchen is to offer toddlers a nibble tray. Use an ice-cube tray, a muffin tin, or a compartmentalized dish, and put bite-size portions of colorful and nutritious foods in each section. Call these finger foods playful names that a two-year-old can appreciate, such as: apple moons (thinly sliced), avocado boats (a quarter of an avocado), banana wheels, broccoli trees (steamed broccoli florets), carrot swords (cooked and thinly sliced), cheese building blocks, egg canoes (hard- boiled egg wedges), little O’s (o-shaped cereal) Place the food on an easy-to-reach table. As your toddler makes his rounds through the house, he can stop, sit down, nibble a bit, and, when he’s done, continue on his way. These foods have a table-life of an hour or two.
  17. Dip it. Young children think that immersing foods in a tasty dip is pure fun (and delightfully messy). Some possibilities to dip into: cottage cheese or tofu dip cream cheese, fruit juice-sweetened preserves, guacamole, peanut butter, thinly spread, pureed fruits or vegetables, yogurt, plain or sweetened with juice concentrate. Those dips serve equally well as spreads on apple or pear slices, bell-pepper strips, rice cakes, bagels, toast, or other nutritious platforms.
  18. Spread it. Toddlers like spreading, or more accurately, smearing. Show them how to use a table knife to spread cheese, peanut butter, and fruit concentrate onto crackers, toast, or rice cakes.
  19. Top it. Toddlers are into toppings. Putting nutritious, familiar favorites on top of new and less-desirable foods is a way to broaden the finicky toddler’s menu. Favorite toppings are yogurt, cream cheese, melted cheese, guacamole, tomato sauce, applesauce, and peanut butter.
  20. Drink it. If your youngster would rather drink than eat, don’t despair. Make a smoothie – together. Milk and fruit – along with supplements such as juice, egg powder, wheat germ, yogurt, honey, and peanut butter – can be the basis of very healthy meals. So what if they are consumed through a straw? One note of caution: Avoid any drinks with raw eggs or you’ll risk salmonella poisoning.
  21. Cut it up. How much a child will eat often depends on how you cut it. Cut sandwiches, pancakes, waffles, and pizza into various shapes using cookie cutters.
  22. Package it. Appearance is important. For something new and different, why not use your child’s own toy plates for dishing out a snack? Our kids enjoy the unexpected and fanciful when it comes to serving dishes – anything from plastic measuring cups to ice-cream cones. You can also try the scaled-down approach. Either serve pint-size portions or, when they’re available, buy munchkin-size foodstuffs, such as mini bagels, mini quiches, chicken drummettes (the meat part of the wing), and tiny muffins.
  23. Become a veggie vendor. I must have heard, “Doctor, he won’t eat his vegetables” a thousand times. Yet, the child keeps right on growing. Vegetables require some creative marketing, as they seem to be the most contested food in households with young children. How much vegetables do toddlers need? Although kids should be offered three to five servings of veggies a day, for children under five, each serving need be only a tablespoon for each year of age. In other words, a two- year-old should ideally consume two tablespoons of vegetables three to five times a day. So if you aren’t the proud parent of a veggie lover, try the following tricks:
  24. Plant a garden with your child. Let her help care for the plants, harvest the ripe vegetables, and wash and prepare them. She will probably be much more interested in eating what she has helped to grow.
  25. Slip grated or diced vegetables into favorite foods. Try adding them to rice, cottage cheese, cream cheese, guacamole, or even macaroni and cheese. Zucchini pancakes are a big hit at our house, as are carrot muffins.
  26. Camouflage vegetables with a favorite sauce.
  27. Use vegetables as finger foods and dip them in a favorite sauce or dip.
  28. Using a small cookie cutter, cut the vegetables into interesting shapes.
  29. Steam your greens. They are much more flavorful and usually sweeter than when raw.
  30. Make veggie art . Create colorful faces with olive- slice eyes, tomato ears, mushroom noses, bell-pepper mustaches, and any other playful features you can think of. Our eighth child, Lauren, loved to put olives on the tip of each finger. “Olive fingers” would then nibble this nutritious and nutrient-dense food off her fingertips. Zucchini pancakes make a terrific face to which you can add pea eyes, a carrot nose, and cheese hair.
  31. Concoct creative camouflages. There are all kinds of possible variations on the old standby “cheese in the trees” (cheese melted on steamed broccoli florets). Or, you can all enjoy the pleasure of veggies topped with peanut- butter sauce, a specialty of Asian cuisines.
  32. Share it. If your child is going through a picky-eater stage, invite over a friend who is the same age or slightly older whom you know “likes to eat.” Your child will catch on. Group feeding lets the other kids set the example.
  33. Respect tiny tummies. Keep food servings small. Wondering how much to offer? Here’s a rule of thumb – or, rather, of hand. A young child’s stomach is approximately the size of his fist. So dole out small portions at first and refill the plate when your child asks for more. This less-is-more meal plan is not only more successful with picky eaters, it also has the added benefit of stabilizing blood-sugar levels, which in turn minimizes mood swings. As most parents know, a hungry kid is generally not a happy kid. Use what we call “the bite rule” to encourage the reluctant eater: “Take one bite, two bites…” (how ever far you think you can push it without force-feeding). The bite rule at least gets your child to taste a new food, while giving her some control over the feeding. As much as you possibly can, let your child – and his appetite – set the pace for meals. But if you want your child to eat dinner at the same time you do, try to time his snack-meals so that they are at least two hours before dinner.
  34. Make it accessible. Give your toddler shelf space. Reserve a low shelf in the refrigerator for a variety of your toddler’s favorite (nutritious) foods and drinks. Whenever she wants a snack, open the door for her and let her choose one. This tactic also enables children to eat when they are hungry, an important step in acquiring a healthy attitude about food.
  35. Use sit-still strategies. One reason why toddlers don’t like to sit still at the family table is that their feet dangle. Try sitting on a stool while eating. You naturally begin to squirm and want to get up and move around. Children are likely to sit and eat longer at a child-size table and chair where their feet touch the ground.
  36. Learn to differentiate between fussy eating and them not being hungry. Recognise your child’s growth patterns and the variation in their food needs.
  37. Don’t try to force feed your child, or insist they “clean the plate”, as this overrides natural feelings of fullness.  The more you force them the less likely they are to eat it. It is best not to fuss over whether a child eats a particular food.  If your child refuses to eat a food, it may not mean they dislike the food, they could just be trying to show their independence and to see how you will react.
  38. Introduce new foods when you know your child will be hungry, such as morning or afternoon snack time, as there is more chance they will try something new when they are hungry.
  39. Avoid asking your child “What do you want to eat?” as they have the opportunity to answer “nothing” or to choose unhealthy foods such as chips and chocolates.  Allow a choice within limits.  Ask them “Would you like this food or that food”?
  40. Do not offer a replacement food if the two choices are rejected.  Unless a child is unwell they will never voluntarily starve themselves, but a normal child can try to manipulate you into giving them what they want.  They are seeking attention.  Food fads are common but rarely cause danger to their health as they usually change frequently.  The more fuss that is made, the more likely that this behaviour will become entrenched.
  41. Be consistent, ensure everyone who feeds your child agrees on how to deal with their requests and refusals.
  42. Turn meals upside down. The distinctions between breakfast, lunch, and dinner have little meaning to a child. If your youngster insists on eating pizza in the morning or fruit and cereal in the evening, go with it – better than her not eating at all. This is not to say that you should become a short-order cook, filling lots of special requests, but why not let your toddler set the menu sometimes? Other family members will probably enjoy the novelty of waffles and hash browns for dinner.
  43. Let them cook. Children are more likely to eat their own creations, so, when appropriate, let your child help prepare the food. Use cookie cutters to create edible designs out of foods like cheese, bread, thin meat slices, or cooked lasagna noodles. Give your assistant such jobs as tearing and washing lettuce, scrubbing potatoes, or stirring batter. Put pancake batter in a squeeze bottle and let your child supervise as you squeeze the batter onto the hot griddle in fun shapes, such as hearts, numbers, letters, or even spell the child’s name.
  44. Make every calorie count. Offer your child foods that pack lots of nutrition into small doses. This is particularly important for toddlers who are often as active as rabbits, but who seem to eat like mice. Nutrient-dense foods that most children are willing to eat include: California Avocados, Pasta, Broccoli, Peanut butter, Brown rice and other grains, Potatoes, Cheese, Poultry, Eggs, Squash, Fish, Sweet potatoes, Kidney beans, Tofu, Yogurt
  45. Count on inconsistency. For young children, what and how much they are willing to eat may vary daily. This capriciousness is due in large part to their ambivalence about independence, and eating is an area where they can act out this confusion. So don’t be surprised if your child eats a heaping plateful of food one day and practically nothing the next, adores broccoli on Tuesday and refuses it on Thursday, wants to feed herself at one meal and be totally catered to at another. As a parent in our practice said, “The only thing consistent about toddler feeding is inconsistency.” Try to simply roll with these mood swings, and don’t take them personally.
  46. Relax. Sometime between her second and third birthday, you can expect your child to become set in her ideas on just about everything – including the way food is prepared. Expect food fixations . If the peanut butter must be on top of the jelly and you put the jelly on top of the peanut butter, be prepared for a protest. It’s not easy to reason with an opinionated two-year-old. Better to learn to make the sandwich the child’s way. Don’t interpret this as being stubborn. Toddlers have a mindset about the order of things in their world. Any alternative is unacceptable. This is a passing stage.
  47. Involve your children in meal planning, allow them to help with the shopping or food preparation.  If they have played a role in making a food there is more chance they will want to eat it.  Talk to them about why you choose the foods you choose.
  48. Remember that children can only ever eat what is available and you as the parent make this decision.
  49. Do not offer children unhealthy foods as a reward.  This will make unhealthy food more desirable.  It is best to have non-food rewards such as a trip to the park or a game of ball.
  50. As soon as your child is old enough serve the family the same meal.  Then everyone is eating the same thing and there is no special or different foods.
  51. Sometimes life for children is too exciting to spend time eating.  Therefore it is important to make meal times a happy time for the family, when everyone sits down at the table together and chats about their day.
  52. It is common for a child to love a particular food one day and then refuse it the next. This can be difficult for parents, but if you simply accept that children’s appetites go up and down and that they may sometimes have strange preferences.
  53. Have only healthy foods available – if you offer high fat, sugar or salt foods in order to get them to ‘eat something’, they’ll start refusing healthier foods – especially when they know there are other options! Offering unhealthy treats as bribes might make them eat their meal but you are sending them mixed messages.  You want them to eat the healthy food but then offer treats.
  54. Start by introducing healthier elements into foods that your child already likes. For example, offer blueberry pancakes, carrot muffins, fruit slices over a favorite cereal, chunks of bell pepper in a potato salad, or shredded veggies over rice.
  55. Include your kids in the prep work. By being involved in grocery shopping and food preparation, your kids will have more ‘buy-in.’ If they feel some ownership over the meal, they may be more likely to eat it.
  56. Don’t buy unhealthy foods. Out of sight, out of mind. If the chips and cookies aren’t around, your kids can’t eat them. They may resist at first, but when they get hungry, they’ll start munching the carrot sticks. Keep healthy foods on hand — 100 percent juice instead of colas or sugary drinks, and a bag of apples instead of a bag of chips.
  57. Schedule snack time and stick to it. Most kids like routine. If your kids know they will only get food at certain times, they’ll eat what they get when they get it. Try to have snacks incorporate two food groups. For example, offer cheese and whole-grain crackers or apple slices with low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese.
  58. Have healthy finger foods available. Kids like to pick up foods, so give them foods they can handle. Fruit and veggie chunks (raw or cooked) are great finger-food options.
  59. Repeal the “clean your plate” rule. Kids know when they’re full, so let them stop. Overeating is one of the major reasons we get too many calories.
  60. Encourage kids to “eat their colors.” This game works well with younger kids. Food that’s bland in color often also lacks nutrients. Eating a variety of brightly colored foods provides more nutrients in greater variety.
  61. Don’t cut out treats altogether. Think moderation. A scoop of ice cream or a serving of Oreos is all right occasionally. If you cut out all the goodies, your kids will be more likely to overeat when they do get them. Make sure to moderate the treat consumption.
  62. Earlier is better. It’s important to expose your child to healthy fruits and vegetables at a young age. Food preferences that children develop in their early years remain fairly stable and are reflected by the food choices they make in later childhood.
  63. Be patient and keep trying. Parents who get discouraged by children who are picky eaters often stop trying to give them new foods, which could lead to future health problems. Research has shown that in most cases, parents can help their children learn to like new foods through multiple exposures (between 5 and 10) to new foods and opportunities to learn about food and eating. Just offer new foods often, asking your child to try a bite in a positive and supportive way. Although it doesn’t always happen, studies have shown that children will eventually learn to like the new food.
  64. Be a role model. A recent study found that 2 and 3-year-old children’s food preferences are significantly related to foods that their mothers liked, disliked, and never tasted. So, the more excitement and enjoyment you express about fruits and vegetables, the more likely your child will want to eat them too!
  65. Don’t restrict certain foods. Research also shows that not allowing children to eat certain foods only raises their desirability for that food. So help children learn that healthy foods like fruits and vegetables are “all the time foods” that they can eat anytime, and that foods like candy and desserts are “sometimes foods” that they can eat once in a while.
  66. Make healthy foods available. As long as you keep healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables around, your child can learn to like and choose them!
  67. Prepare foods in healthy ways. Small modifications in the way you prepare meals and snacks can make a big difference in improving your child’s diet: Bake instead of fry, choose foods with whole grain or whole wheat instead of refined grains, give your child water or low-fat or skim milk instead of juice or soda, etc.
  68. Make it fun! Snack and meal-time activities should be introduced and reinforced in creative, colorful and playful ways. There are suggestions below for some fun and easy ways you can make fruits and vegetables an all-time favorite with your child. While you do these activities, allow your child to explore the various properties of fruits and vegetables by touching, tasting, smelling and hearing. Don’t forget to talk about how they are good for the body, too!
  69. Try something new. Allow your child to try a new fruit or vegetable. Jicama! Zucchini! Bok choy! Mango! Papaya! These foods may sound silly, but they taste great and they’re good for you.
  70. Do a taste test or a crunch test! Dip carrots into three different flavors of low-fat dressing or try a crunch test with three different kinds of vegetables to see which vegetable crunches the loudest!
  71. Play a guessing game! Prepare several foods for your child to taste while he or she is blindfolded. See if your child can identify each food. Help your child use words to describe what he or she tastes, such as salty, sweet, crunchy, smooth, warm, cold, etc.
  72. Play “What can we make with this?” Talk about how a certain fruit or vegetable, such an apple, is good for the body. Then, talk about the various foods they can make with an apple.
  73. Bake carrot or zucchini muffins together. Discuss how carrots have special vitamins that are really good for eyes.
  74. Where do foods come from? With your child, visit a farm to explore where foods come from and how they grow. Can you try planting your own fruit and vegetable? How about a tomato?
  75. Make a healthy snack. Have your child pick a variety of fruits to make a fruit salad. As he/she adds each new fruit to the bowl, talk about the colors of each fruit and how they help the body stay healthy in different ways.
  76. After grocery shopping, play a sorting game by grouping various fruits and vegetables by different categories – color, taste, texture, food group, etc.
  77. Veg out at the dinner table, not the TV. Eating in front of the TV is distracting, and kids may not notice that they’re full because they’re wrapped up in the show. Eating as a family is a great time to catch up.
  78. Be a good role model. The best way to influence kids is by example. Don’t expect them to eat spinach if you won’t touch it.
  79. Be patient with new foods Young children often touch or smell new foods, and may even put tiny bits in their mouths and then take them back out again. Your child might need repeated exposure to a new food before he or she takes the first bite. Encourage your child by talking about a food’s color, shape, aroma and texture — not whether it tastes good. Serve new foods along with your child’s favorite foods.
  80. Make it fun Serve broccoli and other veggies with a favorite dip or sauce. Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters. Offer breakfast foods for dinner. Serve a variety of brightly colored foods.
  81. Recruit your child’s help At the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Don’t buy anything that you don’t want your child to eat. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table.
  82. Let your child pick out fruits and veggies at the grocery store.
  83. Have your picky eater help in the kitchen by stirring batter and adding spices.
  84. Use cookie cutters to make cucumber stars or apple suns.
  85. Dunk fruits and veggies in sauces or dips.
  86. Minimize distractions and turn off the television during meals.
  87. Shred carrots and zucchini in casseroles and spaghetti sauce.
  88. Top cereal with fruit slices instead of sugar.
  89. Fresh fruit smoothies make a delicious treat — let your child add the ingredients.
  90. Make sure your child has a chance to see older siblings, cousins, or friends eating a variety of foods. Kids often will follow their lead.
  91. Forget the Clean Plate Club and encourage your child to take a bite of everything on the plate. The more often they try it, the more likely they will be to eat it willingly.
  92. Make mealtimes enjoyable by creating a positive, calm environment. Adopt a neutral attitude and avoid excess praise and criticism.
  93. Go Shopping Together Take your kids grocery shopping with you, and involve them in the shopping process. Know in advance some of the meals you’ll be preparing, and ask for your kids’ input while you shop. They’ll feel more invested in the preparation of the meal if they have something to do with deciding what goes into it.
  94. Be Patient Encourage your kids to eat new foods by offering small portions of a new food along with their favorite foods. Don’t force them to eat all of the new food, but encourage them to take small tastes. Don’t give up! Studies show that kids need to be exposed to a new food 15 times or more before accepting it.
  95. Transition Foods Try transitioning your picky eater to table food by offering Stage 3 baby food. You can even try combining baby food with table food. Picky eating behavior is normal for toddlers transitioning from breast milk or formula to baby food and table food. Kids should be allowed to experience different tastes, textures, and smells, so go ahead and try offering a combination of baby food and table food.
  96. Don’t Be a Short-order Cook! If your picky eaters refuse to eat what you offer, suggest that they make their own meal (something approved by you) and insist that they clean up the mess afterward. They just might choose to eat what’s on the table over doing the extra work. This is a reasonable alternative as long as your kids aren’t making separate meals every night. It’s a great way to demonstrate that no one is going to cater alternate meals for picky eaters.
  97. Make Mealtime Fun I get my kids to eat their veggies by letting them make their own mini-pizzas. I set up an assembly line with a variety of veggies cut into shapes they can use for decorations. The kids have a great time and they eat every bite. Kids love to create, and as long as they have healthy ingredients to create their meals, they’ll be more likely to eat them. To encourage portion control on certain higher-calorie ingredients, you might consider measuring out the appropriate amount for each child.
    Always Give Options We’ve learned to be persistent when introducing new foods. Make sure every new food is coupled with a favorite (so there are options), and give the kids a choice about which new food they’re going to try. Great ideas! When kids are helping make the food choices, make sure to offer two foods and say something like “carrots, green beans, or both” so the choices are not overwhelming.
    Reward Them  We have a rule that you have to try everything on your plate. However, we give the kids one free pass each week. If they don’t use their pass all week long, on Sunday we make or go out for a treat: brownies, ice cream, etc. This is a great strategy to encourage kids to try new foods. Consider making the rewards less food-related, like a trip to the park, a movie, or an extra 10 minutes of playtime before bed.
  98. Mix It Up If your picky eater refuses a particular item, try having them mix it with another food that they enjoy. A bunch of peas can be daunting, but a well-formed mashed potato and pea volcano is fun — and it helps them associate a less-liked food with one they enjoy. Adding new foods along with familiar and well-liked foods is a good strategy.
  99. Sneaky Veggies My 3-year-old son will only eat about three things for dinner, one of which is gluten-free frozen pizza (he has a wheat allergy). He won’t eat any vegetables, so I hide extra spaghetti sauce with pureed vegetables under the cheese! Don’t worry — most 2- and 3-year-olds go through a stage in which they refuse to eat many foods. You might encourage your child to help wash the vegetables. Sometimes just looking at and touching the foods is a major step in the right direction. Remember: Stay calm and consistently offer foods from all of the food groups at every meal, and set an example by eating them in front of your child.
  100. Keep Trying Don’t assume your kids won’t like a certain food. Keep offering a variety! You might be surprised by what your picky eater will try. It’s true! Often parents don’t even offer certain foods because they think their kids won’t like them. For variety, prepare foods in different ways. For instance, try sweet potatoes mashed with a bit of cinnamon, oven roasted with olive oil and garlic cloves, or baked in the skins with a sprinkle of brown sugar and butter.
  101. Don’t Make a Scene Try to serve food without emotion, and don’t beg, plead, or bargain with your child to try something. If he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t like it. Try again another day, and don’t get hung up on it. Parental discipline is always so hard when it’s the end of the day, and everyone (including Mom and Dad) are tired. Try to remain calm at the dinner table. The next time you try the same food, prepare it in a different way.
  102. Forget the Clean Plate Club Let your kids eat when they are hungry. You can’t necessarily expect them to sit down to three full meals and be able to finish everything. Kids’ tummies are small, so five to seven small meals or snacks throughout the day can often make more sense. Ever since I figured this out, it’s been much easier to understand my kid’s eating habits. Before, he was filling up on what he liked best, and then saying no to what was left. I thought he was being picky, but really, he was just satisfied. Two planned snacks a day are an important part of your child’s overall nutrition. By the time your child is 2 years old, he should be eating two snacks along with three meals per day, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Snacks should contain at least two food groups.
  103. Set a Schedule I stopped keeping snacks around all day, and started giving my son snacks at specific times instead. Now he has a routine that he’s used to, so he knows when he needs to eat. Planning snacks and meals is the way to go. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing structured meals when your child is 2 years old. This should include three meals and two snacks.
  104. Sample Sizes When I want my kids to try something new, I make sure they’ve first had a day of fresh air and exercise — that way, they’re hungry at mealtime. When it’s time to eat, I serve just a small sample of the new food. This takes the pressure off of them, so they don’t feel like they’re being forced into consuming a large portion of something they potentially might not like. Great tip! Small portions are a great idea. Remember: When introducing new foods, it can take up to 15 tries for kids to determine whether they like it.
  105. A Little Encouragement This trick has helped my 20-month-old try and enjoy new textures. I stand next to her and encourage her by clapping my hands and saying “Yay!” or making animal sounds. When I do that, she seems to want to try new foods, and she claps for herself after each bite. Praise can be helpful, but be careful not to go overboard. The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds parents of the following: “Pressure and coercion may have short term benefits, but will ultimately make feeding more difficult and eating less rewarding and pleasurable.”
  106. Bit by Bit Have them try at least one bite of a new food every day. Try it again with two foods the following week, but ask them to try each item twice. Be sure to only give names to the foods they like — that way, they won’t be discouraged just by a food’s name. Having your kids try at least one bite is good advice. Research shows it can take up to 15 tries for kids to determine whether they like a new food, so be sure to offer the same foods repetitively over time. You can even prepare the same food different ways — like preparing it raw, steamed, baked, or mashed.
  107. Give It a Twist Listen to your child. After all, they are the ones eating the food, and each child has different tastes. Try not to force foods on them. Instead, make healthy foods with a yummy twist, like honey or applesauce, to entice healthier appetites. This is good advice. Having a casual, matter-of-fact attitude toward mealtime behavior is important.
  108. Give Them the Back Story I explain to my kids where food comes from and how it is made. We visit the local farmers market, where they have samples of fruits and veggies to try. Each time my kids try a new one, I give them a prize. Visiting local farmers markets and trying samples is a great strategy. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dietetic Association recommend avoiding giving excessive rewards for food-related behavior. Instead, help your kids focus on enjoying the experience of eating without expecting a reward. The overall farmers market experience might be enough to encourage their curiosity to try new foods.
  109. Keep Trying If your child is a picky eater and will not eat anything you give them, don’t give up — keep trying! Be sure he or she does not fill up on juice or other drinks before mealtime; eventually, when they get hungry enough, they will eat. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that parents should limit juice (100% fruit juice) consumption to 4 to 6 ounces per day for children ages 6 and younger.
  110. Relax, Enjoy, and Laugh I usually sit at the dinner table and laugh as I eat. This encourages my two-year-old son, because he’ll want to have some fun while eating, too. If that doesn’t work, I make a game out of eating colors. I start the game and lead for the first few colors, and once he’s caught on, I let him lead the game. Having fun at the table and keeping a positive attitude encourages good behavior and makes for a much more comfortable mealtime. Allowing your kids to play food-related games at mealtime can encourage them to try different tastes and textures.
  111. I Bet You Can’t Play a game of “I Bet You Can’t” with your kids. They’ll want to prove they can, so when they try the food, be sure to act amazed that they did. Works with my daughter every time, and it makes her laugh. Playing games at mealtime can be helpful, but be sure to keep it positive. A game with a positive angle encourages good behavior and is much more comfortable than a game that takes a negative approach.
  112. Fun With Shapes My son could eat fruits and veggies and nothing else — all day, every day — if I let him. So to get him to eat the grains and proteins he needs, we mix fun pasta shapes with his favorite veggies and a bit of cheese. He loves it! We also mix his fruit in yogurt. He thinks it’s fun and gobbles it all up. Kids should be allowed to play with food to experience different tastes, textures, and smells, so go ahead — use fun shapes and allow them to mix textures.
  113. Utensil Know-How My 17-month-old is a picky eater. We’ve learned that if she has a fork to feed herself with, like her big sister, she’ll eat more. Great tip! According to HealthyChildren.org, using a fork at 17 months is age appropriate.
  114. Shop Local Get your kids involved in the shopping process. Take them to a local farmers market, and let them pick out the fruits and veggies they’d like to try this week. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, children’s current intake of fruits and vegetables does not meet recommendations. By involving your children in choosing the fruits and vegetables they want to try, you’re helping to increase variety in their diets and the total number of servings of these under-consumed food groups.
  115. If You Eat This, You’ll Be Just Like… Kids love acting like their favorite characters, so I tell my kids that eating certain fruits and veggies will help them be like their favorites. Kids do model others’ behavior. In fact, many surveys have shown that parents are the most important role models in a child’s life. Be sure to demonstrate good nutrition habits, like eating a wide variety of fruits and veggies. That way, your kids can be just like you, too!
  116. Mix Up the Milk If your kid doesn’t like milk, try mixing it up. We do half a cup of milk and half a bottle of Strawberry PediaSure for our 2-year-old. If your child does not like milk or is lactose intolerant*, PediaSure is a great way to ensure they get protein, calcium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients found in milk. You can also use PediaSure as a bridge to getting your child to accept milk.
  117. Make It a Smoothie My son used to love fruits and veggies, but as time goes by, he likes them less and less. So I make smoothies using yogurt, milk, fresh fruit, and veggies (like spinach, carrots, or celery). He loves them, and has no idea the veggies are in there — the sweetness of the fruit and yogurt cover the taste. Hiding foods in smoothies and in casseroles or pizza is a tactic that parents often use. But beware: If you use this tactic for too long, your kids might begin refusing all smoothies that include yogurt, milk, and/or fruit. Try to go back to basics by continuing to expose your kids to fruits and vegetables. Accepting foods is a learned behavior.
  118. Keep a Positive Atmosphere Don’t give your child the opportunity to be picky, and don’t put your negative opinions of certain foods out there for them to pick up on. Make it seem like all foods are good, and then let them choose. Make sure you provide plenty of options and variety, too. Setting aside your own food preferences and biases is especially important when kids are naturally picky with food. Having a calm, balanced attitude toward all foods is essential to developing your kids’ good eating habits. Keep the options to one or two selections so that your child is not overwhelmed. For example, offer carrots or celery, or both.
  119. Let Them Choose Allow your little one to be more independent in feeding himself. I’ve learned that the less I help, the more he will eat. Finger foods like string cheese, fish sticks, carrots, and green beans work for me.  It’s true! When kids begin eating table food, a shift takes place in terms of portion control. Children have an innate ability to focus on internal hunger cues and can self-regulate meal size. If a parent tries to influence portion control using coercive behaviors, that innate ability is lost — and that can lead to poor self-regulation of calories later in life.
  120. Snack Attack We’ve invented the “snack platter” in our household. If I can’t get my toddler to sit and eat, I make it sound fun by offering him a platter of a variety of healthy snacks he likes (e.g. pickles, cheese, olives, yogurt, apples). It works wonders. Unlike adults, young children need smaller, more frequent meals, so occasionally replacing a meal with healthy snacks is fine. Just be sure that this is an exception rather than a rule. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, having regular family meals promotes social interaction and provides a model for positive food-related behavior.
  121. Try It With Toppings Toddlers are into toppings. Putting nutritious, familiar favorites on top of new and less-desirable foods is a way to broaden the finicky toddler’s menu. My toddler loves yogurt, cream cheese, guacamole, tomato sauce, applesauce, and peanut butter. It’s definitely important that eating be fun for children. Allowing for additions to healthy foods likes fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains is a great way to get kids to participate in establishing healthful eating behaviors. Just try to offer healthy versions of high-fat toppings.
  122. A Little Bit of Everything My wife and I give our kids a bit of what we eat for dinner, and depending on whether or not they like it, we’ll adjust how much of each food we give them. So no matter what, they’re always getting a little bit of everything. The keys to this are consistency, repeated trial, and variety. Consistency meaning they have to eat at least some of what we made for dinner — no exceptions (unless we won’t eat it ourselves). Repeated trial meaning they have to try new things every time we do (usually by the fifth try they decide they like it anyway). And variety meaning there are always at least three different things on the plate. That way, they’re guaranteed to have two things we know they like and one variable item. Consistency, repeated trial, and variety are excellent strategies to get kids to pick up habits for a healthy nutrition foundation. As you suggested, it’s always good to include at least some foods you know your kids will like.
  123. Timing Is Everything Feed your child when he is hungry. Sounds simple, but if he’s hungry, he’ll be more likely to try something he might not normally eat. New foods should always be offered when kids are hungry. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should encourage a routine of three meals and two snacks per day. Children will eventually be moved to a more adult-like eating pattern with time.

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