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WHAT TO PICK FOR DINNER, WHEN YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER.


Do you have a picky eater in the family?

Do you despair that she will ever join in a meal with the rest of the family?

Worried that she’s not getting the nourishment she needs to grow strong & tall?

Have you run out of ideas?

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Knowing the reasons why children are picky eaters can put you on the trail of the solution.

Let’s look at these.

Anxiety around trying anything new

This is more common than you might think. It is best to introduce only one new food at a time, and plan on serving it multiple times, with no pressure to try the food. Keeping the dinner table atmosphere stress free, and serving other foods your child will eat can go a long way in encouraging her to try something new.

Sensory issues around textures

Does your child gravitate to just crunchy foods? Serve crunchy vegetables or try sweet potato fries. On the other hand, does your child like only smooth textures? Consider pureeing meats and using as a spread, or adding pureed veggies to pancakes or meatloaf.

Food intolerances

A clue to a food intolerance is noticing if there is one or two foods that make up the bulk of your child’s diet. Experiment by removing these foods and you may be pleasantly surprised that your child’s food choices naturally broaden. Note that this is not the same as insisting that a child change her food choices. Rather, when the obsession with a single food is removed, the child often begins to incorporate other foods on their own, when presented with the option.

Meat aversion

If your child is having difficulty chewing, meat can be an obstacle. Meatloaf or stewed/shredded meats in broth can help. Additionally, if your child is not digesting foods well, she may be avoiding meat. Using bitters, enzymes, or other digestive aids can help move things along so your child can get this important body building nutrient.

Food additives such as MSG and artificial ingredients

Research has shown that MSG and other food additives and chemicals can have an affect on the brain similar to an addiction. These make food taste especially good, and your child may refuse other foods that seem dull by comparison.

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It’s understandable that when your child is not eating well, it can be upsetting to everyone in the household. By avoiding becoming emotionally attached to outcomes, and keeping the atmosphere casual, open, and inviting, you can set the stage for a more relaxed family dining experience.

It is best to provide foods your child likes along with a new food (just one!) And, if everyone else at the table is eating the food, your child may see it as a safe food to try. Remember, if another family member is a picky eater, such as Dad or Big Brother, there is little incentive for your child to try the food.

Serving the new food in a texture or shape your child enjoys increases the chance that she will try the new food. That said, there will be times when simply having a small portion on the plate will be a big step forward. Another step to food acceptance is teaching your child to discretely remove food from their mouth into a paper napkin. If your child knows that she can try the food without the risk of being stuck with something yucky (to her) in her mouth, she may be more apt to take that first bite.

Finally, the old adage to try, try again, has never been truer than when working with a picky eater! Research shows that a child may need to be introduced to a new food as many as 15 times before trying it. If your child still has difficulties with new foods after a good effort, don’t be discouraged. Sometimes professional help is needed, so be sure to reach out for help and support. Your family is worth it!

Perseverance and patience are the way to go, and as time passes, your child’s food repertoire will vastly increase.

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The content on this website is for informational purposes only. The statements and products shown on this website have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.