HELPING YOUR PICKY EATER

You’ve been doing all the right things, and you still have a picky eater. What else can you try?

* Plant vegetables together. Some children will try something they’ve grown, although this is not quick enough for others. One mom I know, whose children were frustrated with the slowness, bought carrots with their green tops still attached and planted them while her children were in school. The children were excited to dig up a carrot or two for dinner, and actually tasted them.

* Change eating partners. Sitting next to a cousin who isn’t a picky eater and likes tomatoes may be enough for your child to give them a try.

*Explaining the “why” can be successful with some.

*Enlisting help works for some. “Read the labels and help me find…”

*Teach him/her to cook. Very young children can put toppings onto a whole wheat pizza crust or add smoothie ingredients and run a blender, while older children can work with you on more complex recipes.

*Picky eaters may not want to try new things, but they usually like fun and cutting sandwiches into cookie cutter shapes, or making animal shaped pancakes for a visiting grandma, may get them involved. And who knows, some children have been known to “sneak” a taste.

*Try different ways to cook something–one may appeal more than another. Mashed sweet potatoes vs. oven baked sweet potato fries, for example.

*Put one food inside another-grated carrots in pasta sauce. Oatmeal in meatloaf.

*Provide dipping sauce. Yogurt makes a good, healthy base (watch the sugar however). Try hummus, easy to make and without the garlic, is kid-friendly for most. Tofu in the blender, mixed with cheese or a little juice is healthy. Play the “let’s try” and let them experiment. One very picky eater I know suggested balsamic vinegarĀ  and for two years used it as a nightly dip for anything green that appeared on his plate.

With all these suggestions, what are the unifying ideas? Be Creative! Stay Relaxed! Involve the Picky Eater as much as possible! Remember the story about the race between theĀ  turtle and the hare? The faster hare might have won except he became distracted, while the turtle kept going. Be a turtle on this and your Picky Eater will be the winner.

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