Tips For Picky Eating

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Picky or fussy eating is defined as the rejection of a large proportion of foods, both familiar and new. It is a common occurrence in children. With a picky eater, mealtime can seem more like a battle than a relaxing way to spend time with your family. It is thought that genetic, environmental and developmental factors play a role in picky eating

Tips to help curb picky Eating in Children


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 or become less sensitive to his or her own hunger and fullness cues. Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child and give him or her the opportunity to independently ask for more.

 Stick to the routine

Serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day. You can provide milk or 100 percent

juice with the food, but offer water between meals and snacks. Allowing your child to fill up on juice, milk or snacks throughout the day might decrease his or her appetite for meals.

Be patient with new foods

Young children often touch or smell new foods, and might 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.

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.

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.

Set a good example

If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.

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 or less nutritious foods.

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.

Author: Bibian Okoye

A Retired Chief Nursing Officer, PGDip IHM

2 thoughts on “Tips For Picky Eating”

  1. These are great tips. I used to have the same problem with my children when they are young. I still have the same eating problem with my teenage boys. lol. It is hard to get them to try something new, especially vegetable, it is always a battle. How you handle teenage boys? Any tips? thx

    1. Thanks for your comment
      You see dear most teens I know also love raw veggies with a really good dip, which can easily be substituted in place of a vegetable at dinner. By the teen years, many kids have established their preferences, so ask your kids what they would like and let them experiment with different ways to eat vegetables.

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