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Handling a “Picky” Eater


One Meal, No Substitutions — You are not a short order cook, and you don’t serve “kids meals.” You serve adult meals with kid-friendly ingredients. The bottom line is, you aren’t doing your children a favor when you make it okay not to eat what is served.

Everyone Tries Everything — This isn’t the same as telling your kids they must “eat everything on their plate.” Tasting everything shows respect for the food preparer, and gives a child an opportunity to be pleasantly surprised by discovering new tastes and textures. They may not like everything (research shows they can reject a food 10 times before deciding they like it), but they will discover some new favorites, and will also discover they are more of an adventurer than they thought. Don’t be surprised when they start suggesting new items for dinner.

Parents tend to overreact about food finickiness, worrying about nutrition and whether their child is getting enough to eat. Don’t worry, kids eat when they are hungry and even a missed meal won’t hurt them. Even a limited selection of foods (“She only wants spaghetti!”) tend to be more nutritious than assumed, and those one item eating sprees tend to play themselves out soon enough. Or capitalize on those favorites, but offer up other items to try, or find creative ways to hide new ingredients (finely chopped veggies in the spaghetti sauce).

What are some of your tips for combating a finicky eater?



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