How Not to Raise a Picky Eater

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Have you ever been at a loss as to how to get your kid to eat their vegetables? You’re not alone. In fact, one study found that 66 percent of parents with children under the age of 12 said they had problems getting their kids to eat healthy foods. If your child is one of those picky eaters, don’t worry – you can overcome this hurdle. Here are some tips for how not to raise a picky eater.

  • Create a mealtime routine: When it comes to mealtime, creating a routine can be helpful in avoiding picky eating behaviors in kids. Sit down as a family at the table for meals, and turn off screens so that everyone is present and focused on the meal. 
  • Encourage kids to try new foods: As any parent knows, getting kids to try new foods can be a challenge. However, there are a few things that parents can do to encourage their kids to try new foods. One approach is to start with small portions. Kids may be more likely to try a new food if they don’t feel like they’re being forced to eat a lot of it. Another approach is to let kids choose their own foods. At the grocery store or farmers’ market, let them pick out a few new items to try. Finally, it can be helpful to lead by example and eat new foods yourself. If your kids see you trying new things, they may be more likely to follow your lead. Ultimately, getting kids to try new foods takes patience and perseverance, but it’s worth the effort. 
  • Have your children help with meal preparation: Getting kids involved in meal preparation is one way to help them develop good eating habits. By involving them in the cooking process, they will be more likely to try new foods and less likely to be picky eaters. Additionally, cooking with kids can teach them valuable life skills such as measuring, following directions, and using kitchen appliances safely. And it can be a great opportunity for quality family time. 
  • Don’t make special meals for your children: When it comes to feeding their kids, some parents feel the need to prepare special meals just for them. While this may seem like a good idea, it can actually do more harm than good. For one thing, it can create picky eaters who only want to eat certain foods. It can also make mealtime a battle, as kids refuse to eat what’s been prepared for them. Furthermore, it can send the message that some foods are “good” and others are “bad.” Ultimately, the best way to ensure that your kids are getting the nutrients they need is to offer them a variety of healthy foods and let them choose what they want to eat. By doing so, you’ll help them develop a lifetime of good eating habits.
  • Avoid bribing your kids to try new foods: While it may be tempting to bribe your kids with sweets or toys in order to get them to try new foods, this is not an effective strategy in the long run. For one thing, it sends the message that food is a reward, which can lead to unhealthy eating habits. Additionally, bribing kids to try new foods often backfires, as they quickly learn that they can get what they want by refusing to eat what they don’t. A better approach is to lead by example and enjoy new foods yourself. Explain why you’re trying something new, and invite your kids to give it a taste. With patience and persistence, you’ll eventually find that your kids are more likely to try new foods on their own.

Raising adventurous eaters takes time and patience, but in the long run, it’s so worth it. You’ll love having kids who aren’t picky eaters and will at least try something new before saying, “I don’t like that!” Give these tips a try to help you get started!

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