Picky eating behavior is common for many children from the age of 2 to 5 years. If you have concerns about your child’s growth or eating behavior, talk to your child’s doctor. Your child’s picky eating is temporary. Try the following tips to help you deal with your child’s picky eating behavior in a positive way. Use the ones that will work for you and your child.
- Let your kids be “produce pickers.” Let them pick out fruits and veggies at the store.
- Offer choices. Rather than ask, “Do you want broccoli for dinner?” ask “Which would you like for dinner, broccoli or cauliflower?”
- Offer the same food for the whole family. Serve the same meal to adults and kids. Let them see you enjoy a variety of healthy foods. Talk about the colors, shapes, and textures on the plate.
- Have your child help you prepare meals. Children learn about food and get excited about tasting food when they help make meals. Let them add ingredients, scrub veggies, or help stir food.
- Be a good role model. Try new foods yourself. Describe their taste, texture, and smell to your child.
- Start with small portions. Let your kids try small portions of new foods that you enjoy. Give them a small taste at first and be patient with them. When they develop a taste for more types of foods, it’s easier to plan family meals.
- Offer new foods first. Your child is most hungry at the start of a meal.
- Offer new foods many times. Sometimes, new foods take time. Kids don’t always take to new foods right away. It may take up to a dozen tries for a child to accept a new food.
- Make food fun. Cut food into fun and easy shapes with cookie cutters.
- Encourage your child to invent and help prepare new snacks. Create new tastes by mixing two or more food groups together to make interesting pairings.
Shakera Williams, M.P.H.
Assistant Nutrition Extension Agent-General & SNAP-Ed Nutrition
Office: (318) 371-1371
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