Healthy Living: Picky Eaters

CHAMPAIGN,Ill - Beth Peralta registered & licensed dietitian joins the Morning Show and in this week's healthy living she is discussing helping picky eaters at home.

Point 1: Have kids get involved with choosing new foods

Get children involved in the experience. At the grocery store, ask them to pick out a new fruit or vegetable they want to try. Have them help with washing and preparing the new food.

Introduce the new food with foods that your child already likes. You can also introduce the new food when the child is already hungry. Serve this food and encourage your child to try at least two bites of it. Sometimes it can take multiple times of trying a new food for a child to develop a taste for it. Don’t be discouraged if it ends up on the floor rather than in their mouth. Keep serving the new food and encourage “just two bites” each time. On average, it takes 12 times of introducing a new food for children to accept them. So be patient and keep in mind that it is completely normal for children to be picky at meals.

Point 2: Make the food visually appealing

Another way to make food more fun for your child is to make it visually appealing. For example, this colorful plate looks a lot more interesting than this plate. (Two plates for demonstration). different colors and textures can be interesting for children. Little things like that can make eating more fun for them.

Using cookie cutters for items like sandwiches, pancakes, and more can add another level of fun at meals.

Point 3: Be a positive food role model

Be a good role model. If you are introducing a new food, make sure it is also on your plate and everyone else’s at the table. Make sure you watch your body language and have your child see that you are enjoying the new food. Kids definitely watch you at the table, and may mimic your response.

Avoid using food as a punishment or reward. Certain foods can be for celebration like cake at a birthday party, but avoid telling your child to eat all of their vegetables or they do not get dessert. This may lead to eating vegetables as seeming like a chore. Setting up a healthy food environment at home helps set them up for success with healthy foods in the future!


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