Picky Eaters at the Kids’ Table

We've all encountered one (some of us may still be one) but whether we like it or not, picky eaters can drive us wild! How can we get our kids to eat healthy food? Let's hear from the experts.

First, The Smithsonian.com takes a look at the science behind why children are so hesitant to try new foods. Spoiler alert: scientists think it's a holdover from our early days when humans foraged for food.

Keeping the above resource's ideas in mind, a child's preferences can come from watching their parents eat. Zero to Three says adults should also eat healthy, cook meals with children and frequently try new foods in front of their children. They have many more suggestions about what to do and what not to do. Included is helpful advice on what to do about dessert.

Parents reminds adults to keep portions small. "Many parents offer a portion that's way too large." Dr. Keith E. Williams suggests starting with a single pea or part of a noodle and following up with a food your child likes. And remember, children are typically offered a new food 10 to 15 times before they show interest.

Need a comprehensive list for how to decrease tantrums at the dinner table? The Mayo Clinic has 10 ways to make sure your child gets a nutritious diet AND prevent food battles.

The American Heart Association offers 10 tips to handle your picky eater. My favorite is playing the "eat their colors" game, ensuring they eat a variety of different fruits and veggies every day.

Saying healthy eating is all well and good, but if you're struggling to make ends meet, it can seem daunting. Reach out to Tri-County Health and sign up for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. You'll receive healthy food, nutrition education and so much more. There are even resources for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.

If you need recipes, handouts, talking points or want to know the U.S. Department of Agriculture's nutrition recommendations, head to ChooseMyPlate.gov.

There's no harm in talking to an expert, whether it's to put your mind at ease or catch an issue early.

**Most importantly, talk to your doctor if you have concerns, especially if your child's picky eating is impacting their health.**

Does your child have picky eating habits? How do you work through them? Let us know in the comments!

 

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