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Tips for Feeding A Picky Eater

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
Tips for Feeding A Picky Eater

Feeding a picky eater can be a true test of a parent's patience, and can result in a stressful situation for both the parent and the child. Keep these quick tips from Beaumont Hospitals (Royal Oak, Mich.) dietitian Meryl Jackson in mind at your next family meal to allow for a more pleasant experience.

1. Follow the division of responsibility: The parent is responsible for what, when and where the food is served. The child decides how much and whether he will eat the food served.

2. Be patient with new foods: Young children often touch or smell new foods. Sometimes they may put small bits in their mouths and take them back out.

3. Offer one new food at a time: Offer new foods when your child is hungry and rested. Combine a favorite food with the new food for better acceptance. Ask your child to try one bite of the new food, expecting and accepting his possible rejection of the food.

4. Minimize snacking and liquid calories right before the meal. Snacks and beverages should be consumed at least one to two hours before a meal.

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5. Include your child in the menu planning: Children may be more willing to try new foods if they have been included in the decision-making process. Ask your child to select a new fruit or vegetable to try when grocery shopping.

6. Give smaller portions of food: Offer several foods in smaller portions so your child does not feel overwhelmed.

7. Don't offer dessert as a reward for eating: Using dessert as a reward teaches your child that dessert is better than the other food provided.

8. Set a good example: Avoid making negative comments about food. If your child sees you enjoying a variety of healthy foods, she is more likely to follow suit.

9. Minimize distractions: Turn off the television during meals, and don't allow books or toys at the table.

10. Don't force your child to clean his plate: Trust your child's appetite as he is an instinctive eater. Allow him to stop eating when is full.