Your Child and Picky Eating

Child eating breakfast

Some children are picky eaters. They don’t like broccoli just because it’s green or they don’t like mushrooms because they’re mushy. Here are some suggestions for improving your child’s eating habits.

First of all, don’t call your child a “picky eater,” or he may become one forever. Children’s eating habits can develop and change for a lot of reasons. Their tastes are naturally evolving.

Have a wide variety of healthy foods available, recognizing that children do have different tastes.

Set a good example by following healthy eating habits yourself, including having a good breakfast. If your child won’t eat breakfast, make sure she has nutritious, high-energy snacks for getting to and from daycare or school.

Provide a variety of foods rich in calcium, not just milk. Include foods such as calcium-fortified orange juice, cheese, yogurt or calcium-fortified soy milk. Some children dislike milk.

Try to involve your child in planning, shopping for and preparing meals. Even two- and three-year olds can do this in a simple way.

Allow your child to help you make his favourite meals from time to time, even if it’s not something you really enjoy.

Try not to make mealtime a battleground by nagging, threatening or arguing about your child’s eating.

Try not to criticize your child’s choices, or say that some foods are “bad.” Instead, make sure that the foods offered are all healthy choices. Be creative.

Stay neutrals about all foods. Your child is sensitive to your cues and might how they see a food. Instead of calling food “bad”, whether it’s junk food or something you don’t like eating, give your child a chance to try and decide for himself.

Be patient. Your child’s tastes in food will continue to change.

If, however, you feel that your child’s eating habits are making her unhealthy, consult your child’s physician.

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