As part of the CMH Moms group this post has been sponsored by Children’s Mercy Hospital, all the opinions are my own.
I hate meal time. It’s a big struggle for me from beginning to end. What should I prepare? What are people going to eat? Who is going to complain about the food? How can I get them to eat a veggie, just ONE veggie? I know I’m not the only person who feels this way because I’ve seen countless memes on Facebook about it.
While I still struggle with two of my own picky eaters I have a few tips for helping with the picky eaters, PLUS I was able to interview registered Dietician Shelly Summar and will share her tips as well.
- When preparing our meals I try to also include side dish items that my picky eaters like. For example, one of my picky eaters LOVES strawberries and grapes, so if we are having a meal I know he won’t like, there is still something on the table he will enjoy. I asked the dietician if there was such a thing and serving that picky eater too much fruit. She said: “In general, it is going to be hard to eat too much fruit. With that being said, when large quantities of fruit are consumed, it could result in diarrhea or stomach upset.” She also said to refer to Choose My Plate for kids serving sizes based on ages.
- Shelly suggested to expose your children to food multiple times. If they don’t like raw carrots first, try cooked, try with dip, try different seasonings. She said that multiple exposures may increase their chances of wanting to try it.
- Shelly also said that coercion is never the way to go. Attacking them for not eating the food or giving that behavior a lot of attention may be counter productive. Continuing to introduce the food in a calm way is the best way to go. When we make foods my picky eaters don’t like, we do ask that they at least try a small bite to see if they like it or not. A lot of the time they will comply with a small bite and decide they don’t like it, but we are happy that they at least try it and give lots of praise for being brave and trying a new food.
- Another awesome suggestion from Shelly is to not substitute the food they don’t want to eat with a different food.
- Try mild tasting foods to begin with. Iceburg lettuce doesn’t really have a taste so when introducing salad, start there before moving on to stronger flavors. Corn is also a food that doesn’t have a strong taste so I have found my picky eaters are very willing to eat corn (especially with a little butter and salt) but not willing to try peas… YET!
- If you need interesting ways to serve fruits and veggies you can check out the 12345 Fittastic pinterest page. As well as fun ideas for getting fit.
Do you have any tips for parents of picky eaters? I know I’m always asking for advice when it comes to food and helping my kids. Here are more family movie ideas.