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Picky Eaters, Plus Week in Review

Dear Elizabeth,
How can I stop my child from being such a picky eater?
Elizabeth's Tips
Elizabeth Sanchez
Elizabeth Sanchez
  • Adults should model proper eating habits
  • Make eating a fun time for children
  • Offer child a choice between two healthy food options
  • As long as child is getting proper nutrition, donít turn it into a power struggle
  • "Picky eating" is usually a phase which will pass, so donít obsess over it
  • Don't use deserts or candies as rewards
Week in Review
Don't forget about the great things that we learned this week:
Expert Advice
Dr. Harvey Karp
Dr. Harvey Karp
Does your child refuse to eat anything but peanut butter sandwiches? Would your toddler rather play with his food than eat it? If these scenarios sound familiar, youíre not alone. Picky eating can be distressing for parents. Hereís how you can expand his or her food horizons.

What Age Do Kids Become So Picky?
Itís normal for kids to be picky for a lot of reasons. Number one, theyíre kind of learning the rules, and theyíre a little rigid in the way they follow the rules. For instance, itís normal for kids to not want to eat a cracker thatís already broken. Or they donít want the peas touching the carrots. Kids can become very specific about things. Some kids are really sensitive. They donít want a texture that doesnít feel right in their mouths. Kids may be slow to warm up to new foods, just like when they meet new kids, they might be kind of timid at first.

How Do Parents Cope?
First, recognize that itís normal, and have very modest goals in the beginning. For example, if you want to introduce a new food, such as a new vegetable, you might be better off with yellow vegetables than green vegetables. Green vegetables are a little bitter tasting whereas yellow is sweeter tasting. Our mouths are built to like sweet tastes. So kids naturally gravitate to whatís yellow or orange or red. So start with something like that and start with small amounts.

Encouraging Kids to Try New Foods
If kids are hesitant to even try a new food, what you can do is try to encourage it. Have some food that you know theyíre going to want to eat and take a small amount of a new food that you want them to try. Encourage them to have a tiny piece of the new food before they have the food that you know they want.

Eating the Same Food
Picky eaters often just eat the same foods over and over. To make sure they are getting at least some proper nutrients, give them multivitamins and juices, such as carrot juice and orange juice. Another strategy which works well is to invite over a slightly older child whoís going to be more flexible in what they eat. When your little child sees this big kid eating all the different foods, itís much more compelling because they want to be like the big kids.

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