Quick Tips: Parent’s Guide to Picky Eating

08 December 2016

No explanation. No fuss. Pure, simple tips from me to you to get your childrens’ nutrition on track.

I must admit – I debated if it was realistic to categorize these strategies for managing, or rather, avoiding kitchen battles with your children as a part of my quick tips series. When it comes to dealing with your childrens’ fussy eating behavior, there truly are no short cuts. As I explained in a previous post, phase 1 is non-negotiable to the success of any dietary ‘intervention’ with your child. Keeping that in mind, here are three overarching strategies to serve as POTENTIAL resources for mending broken food relationships.

Strategy 1: Make meal planning and preparation interactive. Children absolutely love to be involved in adult decisions, creative processes and brainstorming. This gives them a sense of independence.

Step 1: Before you do your grocery shopping for the week, sit down with your child and tell them you have a fun project that you want to work on together. Ask your child what some of his/her favorite meals are and if he/she would like to help you shop and prepare these foods like an adult does.

Step 2: Come up with ideas to use the foods that your child likes and incorporate them into healthful meals. For example, if they like carrots and tomatoes, you can add these vegetables to an omelet.

Step 3: Take your child food shopping. If you think this step will cause more hassle than help, you may opt to eliminate it for now.

Step 4: Ask your child what he/she wants for dinner? Provide two options based on the ingredients you purchased so they still feel a sense of autonomy, but make these choices ones that you feel comfortable with either way.

Step 5: Cook the meal together.

Step 6:  Evaluate. Did this method of inclusiveness keep the peace at the table? If yes→Woohoo! Keep at it and make this a tradition in your family. If no→Determine where the process broke down and why.

Strategy 2: Compromise. This strategy can be used in multiple ways.

• If you want your child to be open-minded to tasting new foods, try introducing these healthful options with foods that already got the thumbs up. For example, if your children like eggs, add a new vegetable into the mix. Add in some fruit to their yogurt if they are dairy lovers.

• Encourage your children to try a new food at least 10 times before dismissing as on the no-list.

Strategy 3: The Don’t Do’s

• Don’t force your children to clean their plate. Let them eat until they feel satisfied.

• Don’t use food as a reward. Let children realize that they can include all different foods into their meals, in moderation of course.

• Don’t make separate meals for each child. Eat as a family, trying to keep in mind different preferences.

Numerous strategies exist, but I chose to highlight three that you can cherry pick from and experiment with at home. Please note: If these tips don’t work for your family, I have many more tricks of the trade up my sleeve and would be happy to help you on an individual basis (alix@tribecamedspa.com).