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Food Fight! How to Help a Picky Eater

by Makinya Ward on July 15, 2016
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Worried your child won't eat a variety of foods? Children's taste buds are much more sensitive than adult's and so kids actually do taste foods more intensely than their parents. However, we all know that positive parenting means avoiding fighting over food while helping picky eaters learn to accept a healthy variety of food choices. Here are some tips:

shutterstock_149514560.jpgUse Encouraging Communication

All kids want to be big and strong, so talk about the benefits of eating protein to grow their muscles, or how vegetables give them vitamins. Explain that eating a rainbow of colors gives them all the energy they need to run fast!

Make New Foods Magical

At Kids Konnect, we help children learn to eat new foods by making them special. For example, we add cinnamon and a little bit of brown sugar to flax seed oats and call it "fairy dust." All the kids love sprinkles of fairy dust on their food. Use your imagination to create magical foods at home.

Plan Meals Together

Sometimes giving children choices is the best way to convince them to try something new. So rather than just springing a new vegetable dish on them at dinner, let them help you plan the meal and talk about new recipes you can try. Go through a cookbook, find recipes online or watch cooking shows for ideas.

Grocery Shop With Kids

After planning a meal, go shopping together to buy the ingredients. Positive parenting means helping your kids learn how to do daily activities and make choices. A good way to get them to try different ingredients is to take them grocery shopping with you. Let them choose a fruit and vegetable to try at home. If your store offers samples, let them try the new tastes.

Start a Kid's Garden

Most picky eaters reject a variety of vegetables, but if kids are involved in growing the vegetables, they're often eager to try their results. You can plant tomatoes, carrots, squash and lettuce in your backyard or in containers. Baby vegetables are the most fun. Let your children help take care of the plants. While they're growing, talk about how you'll cook them. Let kids try carrots they've just picked from the soil — they'll be hooked!

Try One Bite?

One nutritionist suggests the "try one bite" approach works only with adventurous kids who are allowed to dislike that bite. Another approach is to court the child's interest by continuing to serve the food and enjoy it in front of them. It can take up to 20 exposures to a food before kids are ready to accept it, so hang in there; positive parenting is a marathon, not a sprint.

Positive parenting exposes children to a variety of tastes without creating a fight. Do you have a story of how you've gotten your picky eater to try new foods? We'd love for you to share!

Topics: Child development, Food and Nutrition