The Smartest Way to Handle “Picky Eaters”

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Working as a Family Fitness Specialist for 22 years, I realize most kids act the same way when it comes to trying new foods, especially if this new food is good for them. So I came to the conclusion that there must be some hidden job description in some Kids Only Manual, that kids keep in their code of silence, but once you as a parent know what to expect  you can handle the challenges your kids bring to the table a little easier!

 

1. You must have patience. It is natural for kids to be cautious with new foods, especially when it comes to vegetables. We know that for young children, it can take 15 to 20 times of actually putting the food in their mouths before they will come to like it. Try introducing a new vegetable with a familiar taste, for example,

 

2. Kids will challenge you for control. Its in their job description “let’s see if I can win, then I won’t have to eat this green thing!”We also know that some children are especially cautious about trying new foods, while others use food as a way to be in control. Remind yourself this is only a game of will power. Then remind yourself of the health benefits of the food you want your kids to eat.

 

3. Look away when your kids make faces toward their broccoli, its all apart of the game. Let them make as many faces as possible. I once took a picture of my son making a mean pouty face, he was even more upset with me that I actually took the picture, I bring it out today when he has a girlfriend come over! Ahhh the humiliation! Sweet! From their job descriptionFrown every time you taste something unfamiliar or you don’t like it, don’t give in make as many faces as you can. Smile when you eat something sweet.

 

4. Suggest that your son/daughter alternate bites between the new food and the familiar food.

 

5. Create a routine that everyone including mom and dad must try new foods.

 

6. Start small. Don’t introduce a new food by piling it on their plates. Start small, baby steps. Then when they finish that particular food, celebrate!

 

7. Never use food as a punishment or reward. This will come back to haunt you over and over again. This creates an emotional eater, I believe this is part of the problems we have today with emotional eaters. Food is nourishment for the body, leave it at that!

 

8. Introduce new foods at snack time. Especially when your kids don’t have an audience.

 

9. Educate your children why a particular food is good for their bodies.

 

10. Teach you kids about the different types of taste. Allow them to identify sweet, bitter, salty foods.

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