Is Your Child a Picky Eater?

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Photo from parentdish.com

Do you have picky eaters in the house? You’re not alone. It can be particularly difficult to raise healthy eaters in today’s environment. Grocery stores are packed with junk food marketed to kids, and much of it is misrepresented as a healthy choice to parents. Holidays, celebrations, and even children’s sporting events are opportunities for kids to load up on processed foods and sugar. Why does this matter if your child isn’t overweight? Children who eat a healthy diet are more likely to eat healthy as adults, reducing their risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other diet-related disease.

It can take a lot of time, preparation, and determination to raise healthy eaters, but with these tips you’ll be on the road to improving your child’s palate and health.

  • Involve children in planning and preparing meals. Read cookbooks together, bring them grocery shopping, and give them simple food prep tasks to engage them in healthy eating.
  • Don’t give up if your child refuses certain foods. It can take 10, 20, or even more exposures to new foods before a child will eat them.
  • Ease up on snacks. Hungry children are more likely to eat healthy foods at mealtime. Keep sliced fruits and vegetables in the fridge to tide kids over during meal prep.
  • Buy a portion plate (like the ones found here: http://www.superhealthykids.com/shop) and ask your child to help you fill it. This teaches kids how to build balanced meals.
  • Make sure your child gets plenty of physical activity and sleep. Active, well-rested kids (and adults!) make healthier food choices and have fewer junk food cravings.