Karen Schachter, local nutritionist and Mom Since 2001, highlighted 5 ways to begin to address picky eating: “crowding out” less healthy choices with healthier ones; having good food available (and eventually getting rid of the ones you don’t want); encouraging the “one bite” rule; eating together as a family when possible; and not labeling a child as “picky.” This is such a great topic, and one that many parents find frustrating — here are more tips from Karen. -Amy
Experiment and see what works best for your family:
1) Identify “hunger saboteurs.” Is your child drinking milk or juice right before dinner;? Is he snacking on “snack foods” which then fill him up prior to a meal?; Could she have an allergy or food sensitivity that is causing stomach problems? Ruling out a child’s hunger saboteurs can get rid of many of the struggles around mealtime.
2) Learn from the food marketing industry (that happens to be brilliant at making some unappetizing things seem deliciously appealing). When serving vegetables (or whatever it is YOUR child is most picky about), be creative. For example, instead of a pile of raw vegetables in a salad, try creating a “face” on a tortilla: cheese for hair, avocado pieces for eyes, a mushroom for the nose, and some beans for the mouth.
3) Don’t give up – even if your child refuses to eat a particular food, keep offering it. Often with less adventurous eaters, once a food becomes familiar, they may be more open to trying it.
4) Children love to see a show, whether it’s one of excited praise or frustrated exasperation. The more we fuss, the worse the problem generally becomes. Praise often and liberally for their efforts at tasting new things!
5) Include your child in the planning, shopping, and preparation process. I have noticed in my cooking classes that children often get excited about the food they help create! Even children who are hesitant about trying new things are generally willing to try something that they took part in. The positive peer pressure (which you can create by cooking with friends) can also work wonders!
Guest bio: Karen Schachter is a psychology of eating expert. As a clinical social worker and certified nutrition counselor, she works with individuals and families to help them develop positive relationships to food, eating and their bodies. I love Karen’s ideas – hope they add harmony & balance to your home & table! Some of the ideas to creatively disguise healthy food remind me of a new book, Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica (Jerry’s wife) Seinfeld that was not only published last year, but made the Best Seller list! Bon appetit! – Amy