In The Best Of Health » Picky

In The Best Of Health » Picky

In The Best Of Health » Picky

Tips and Information on keeping HealthyFri, 15 Nov 2013 11:00:24 +0000en-UShourly1 tips: picky eaters, 07 Apr 2011 07:50:28 +0000

]]> and Effective Ways to Deal With Picky Eater, 22 Mar 2011 00:47:18 +0000 is every mother’s desire to see their children grow up healthy. Baby from birth to 4 months are fed either with breast milk or infant formula approved by the doctor. From 4 to 6 months onwards, solid food is gradually introduced as your baby’s nutritional needs increases. Up to the stage when your baby grows to become a toddler, he or she may have had the fun of trying various types of food and drinks, as you carefully prepare them to ensure your child’s diet is balanced and complete.

Ideally, your child should love to eat the food that you prepare for them; but most of the times your child may do just the opposite. He or she may refuse to eat the food and end up throwing a tantrum hoping that mommy will say, “It’s okay, if you don’t like it, I will make something that you like”. How should mothers handle such situation? Throwing the food is not an option as it only reinforces your child to be pickier with the food.

You may have tried to “bribe” your child to finish the food and afterward reward him or her with a snack. At times when your frustration rises to the ceiling, you may have resorted to the way of punishment just to get the plate cleared.

Don’t be discouraged! Help is at hand. As much as you want your child to eat a balance meal to ensure proper growth, your child would soon learn to see food as yummy and eating time, fun and rewarding. How can you achieve that? Here are several simple yet effective tips which many mothers shared with each other in dealing with children who are picky eaters. The result was amazing; both mothers and their children are enjoying the meal time as much as play time!

When you prepare your child’s food, try using food of various colors to appeal to his or her senses. Try serving broccoli, egg, and carrot in a plate and watch your child’s eye beam with joy! To make the food looks more interesting, try using a cookie cutter to cut it.

Don’t force your child to eat.

No matter how hard you tried to introduce healthy food to your child, he or she may not always respond with a smiley face. For example, if you have been trying to get your child to eat plain looking oats and your child rather say no, don’t worry. Try adding strawberries, bananas, or peaches and mix it with the oats, your child will surely love the taste! Learn the different creative ways to feed your child. When faced with resistance, get him or her to eat another kind of food that provides similar nutrition.

Bring your child along when you shop for groceries. You can let your child choose the type of fruits and vegetables to buy. Also, another great benefit for shopping with your child is that you can teach him or her the name of the fruits and vegetables. The next time you cook it, it will ring a bell in their memory; thus, reducing any possible resistance.

Offer new foods at the beginning of the mealtime.

During such time, your child will feel most hungry. They will want to eat any kind of food and pay little notice whether the food has been disliked before. When you introduce a new type of food in times like this, your child may discover that he or she likes the taste very much and will enjoy it the next time it is served.

Parents, be a good role model to your child.

You may be surprised that most research discovered that parents whom themselves are picky eaters tend to have children with similar traits. The reason is simple. Children see their parents as role model and will mimic how parents consume food. It’s always to teach your children not to take food that is high in fats and so on, but this must be taught to your child in a right manner. If you refuse or complain about healthy foods such as vegetable soup, whole meal bread, and salmon fish because of your personal preference, your child may think that those foods are not good for them. They will think “Since mommy doesn’t like it, I don’t like it too.”

Well, like all mothers would agree, children’s meal time could either be an enjoyable experience or it could drive you mad every time you see your child turn his or her head when food is presented. With much patience and observation, you will soon learn about your child’s eating habits. By using the tips shared above, we believe your child will love the meal time while you get more and more excited about preparing the next meal for them.

]]> Tips for Dealing With a Picky Eater, 20 Mar 2011 07:56:17 +0000 your child is a picky eater, there is a good chance that he or she is also overweight, since many picky eaters only consume foods high in fat or sugar. Giving your child a whole new outlook on healthy food is all you need to ensure wholesome choices at mealtimes. How can you change your child’s food tastes without a major battle? Here are some suggestions:

1. Set a good example. If you enjoy a wide variety of foods and don’t complain about the ones you don’t like, your child is more likely to eventually follow your example. Don’t set a double standard by snacking on cookies and soda. And, don’t set your kids up for temptation by keeping unhealthy foods in your pantry or refrigerator. Stock up on whole foods that are free of processed ingredients. For example, frozen blueberries, mangoes and grapes are a great alternative to popsicles. Try using agave nectar in baked goods and on pancakes as an alternative to sugar or syrup. This tasty option has all the sweetness of sugar without a high glycemic index.

2. Introduce one new food at a time. If the food is a vegetable, prepare it in a way that makes it attractive and easy to eat. Unless your child is diabetic, a pinch of sugar added during cooking might make it taste better, especially a vegetable.

3. Turn it into a challenge. For instance, the first person at the table who finishes their broccoli gets to choose a board game for the family to play after dinner. Whatever you do don’t allow your child to eat a different meal from the rest of the family.

4. Talk about nutrition. Let your child cut out pictures of different foods from magazines or grocery ads creating a poster identifying the appropriate food groups. Ask your child to keep track of the servings from each food group daily using a sticker chart.

5. Take your child grocery shopping with you with the task of picking one new fruit, vegetable or dairy product for the family to try. Do some research on the Internet to learn about the chosen food including its dietary benefits.

6. Try serving foods in different ways. If your child hates cooked carrots, serve raw baby carrots dipped in ranch dressing. Serve celery stuffed with peanut butter as a snack. Disguise a food your child dislikes in a favorite food. For example, try making “mashed potatoes” using cauliflower or broccoli instead of actual potatoes.

7. Teach your child to cook. Children usually love helping in the kitchen, especially if it means more one-on-one time with you. Make it a rule that whoever cooks the food must try a few bites of anything that is prepared, then YOU select the food to be prepared.

8. Tell your child (as often as necessary) that you are concerned about his or her dietary choices. Make it known that you are doing this out of love and desire for a healthy child. Emphasize the importance of a healthy diet and how it helps in the ability to perform well at sports and do well in school. How can anyone argue with that?

To learn more ways about coping with a picky eater, check out books titled Winning the Food Fight by Dr. Joey Shulman and Conquering Childhood Obesity for Dummies by Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD,LD; Meghan Beecher, and Michelle Hagen at

]]> A Picky Eater!, 18 Mar 2011 15:27:49 +0000

]]> Picky Eaters to Healthy Yummy Tummy Kids, 16 Mar 2011 22:59:31 +0000 your dinner table constantly having meal wars and power struggle when your little picky eater is around? Relax. Almost every child grow up that way – including yourself if you check with grandma.

1. As a parent, we care too much and have expectation as to the quantity and quality of food our child takes. If our child food intake falls short, we get upset.

2. Babies take cereal, adult take chicken chop. How about kids? They do not have wide variety of ‘transitional food’ except for fries that we constantly disallow and hot dog and burger that you can not possibly serve every single meal.

3. More often than not, what is served on the table are adult food – beef are probably to tough for the 20 delicate teeth, they just had chicken yesterday and asparagus taste so bitter and green. So, in terms of texture, taste and preference, they did not suit children well enough.

Given the situation, here are the solutions to what we label our kids as picky eaters:

1. Serve different food for a change.

If you have 10-15minutes, Google for some recipes site and expose all variety of food images to your child. He may probably spot something he likes and there you go – a new food idea!

I know you would not want any disturbance when you are busy cooking in the kitchen, but why not get your child involve in shopping for your ingredients. Or show the sweet corn you bought and let him spread butter on it. Chances are, he will eat it!

3. Educate your child about food pyramid.

If your child is mature enough to understand, show him or her the food pyramid chart. Explain about the different groups of food and their functions. For e.g. You need lots of vegetables and fruits because they contain fiber that can prevent constipation.

4. Be patient when it comes to new food.

It is unusual that a child will try new food when he or she sees it for the first time. A child may need to be exposed with a new food for at least 10 times before he or she develops trust and wants to try it. So, be patient.

If your child does not take what is served, you need not get leave the table and get busy in the kitchen and start cooking all over again. Although offering the ketchup sauce can increase some appetite!

Never serve snack 2 hours before mealtime which can affect your child appetite. Your child should be moderately hungry at mealtimes.

You may have heard about advise that decorating and making fancy shapes out of food may help. Unfortunately, I do not believe in that. It may encourage a child to merely try but ultimately it is the taste and liking that encourage a child to clean the plate. To make the matter worse, a child may develop expectation that each meal should be decorated.

At the end of the day, take it as a passing phase. Your child will eat and no matter what, your child is unlikely to be malnourished. So, relax and enjoy your meal but do not worry too much about picky eaters!

]]> Eaters: A Helpful Approach to Changing Bad Eating Habits, 14 Mar 2011 16:59:00 +0000 Eaters:  A Helpful Approach to Changing Bad Eating Habits

            My Goddaughter has been a picky eater since first being introduced to solids.  To my frustration, I found that her parents saw no problem with her dislike of foods that would be beneficial to her health and growth.  She gravitated to the foods that her parents enjoyed: frozen food dinners.  The healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish and rice were constantly refused.  Macaroni & Cheese became her prime meal on a daily basis.  I was annoyed by this, but I found it very difficult to break her out of these bad habits.  After all, this is what she was used to!  Her own parents approved of her meal choices, so who was I to step in and interfere?

            While babysitting my Goddaughter and my 18 month old baby, I was amazed to see the variety of foods my baby was eating and the lack of variety in my Goddaughter’s meal selection.  Cooking for her became such a task.  I was forced to cook two separate meals:  one for the picky eater and one for the proper eater.  Not only was this time consuming, it was aggravating to me.  I needed to find a solution fast!  So I resorted to some trickery, which worked in my benefit.

            The key came in the visual presentation of the foods I was serving.  I noticed that my boring plates were lacking appeal.  A plate of rice, chicken and vegetables was not as enticing as a pretty slice of pizza with pepperoni and cheese.  So I would separate the servings and put a large portion of healthy food alongside a special treat in a smaller portion.  A plate of rice and chicken now had now had yoghurt, fruit slices or a low fat pudding on the side to compliment it.  That way eating the healthy food would result in the reward of a sweet yet healthy treat.  Colorful & fun plates also become popular.  Presenting colorful fruits and vegetables in different shapes and designs introduced a playful aspect to eating.  Making mash potatoes look like clouds and an orange look like the sun made eating healthy and fun.  Mission accomplished!  Problem solved!

            In conclusion, I firmly believe that young children should be introduced to a variety of foods, and should not be restricted to the foods their parents prefer.  This can result in the child only eating what their parents eat, and can cause problems as the child grows older, as was the case in my situation.  You, the parent may not like broccoli or carrots, but why restrict your child from eating these vegetables?  It never hurts to try new things, and you’d be very surprised to see that your child may have a different reaction to these foods than you’d expect!  The most important thing is the health of the child, and the introduction of healthy foods at an early age will most definitely benefit the child for the rest of their life.

]]> the Picky Eater, 04 Mar 2011 00:48:12 +0000 years ago I remember my grandmother asking me why I no longer liked to eat liver and onions in which I replied that I just no longer liked it. She chalked it up to being a picky eater; I just had my tastes changed as I grew older. I was by far not a picky eater but as a parent I have seen so many so called picky eaters out there that I started noticing a pattern with these kids.

To start off with, it is important to ask yourself if you have a picky eater and then the follow up question is if you yourself are a picky eater. If you answer yes to both of these question, there are ways that both you and your child can that picky eating mentality. Throughout the years I have noticed a few things about picky eaters.

The mentalities of a lot of people are that all kids are picky eaters which are so untrue. My daughter has from day one been an awesome eater, willing to try about anything at least once. She eats things that people are amazed with. My husband and I would offer her things to see if she would eat them. Often times it was a game to see what she would eat. We once gave her wasabi and she loved it and continued dipping whatever she could get her hands on to keep eating it.

Living in Texas, crawfish boils are big starting in the spring, and we let her try one right around her second birthday. By the end of the night, she had everyone in sight at the party peeling them as fast as she could eat them. They were spicy but she loved them because she saw us eating them and enjoying them.

That is the first tip in combating the picky eater, is to show them by what you eat that it they should be eating it. Don’t go and make spate meals for your kids, stick to one meal. Kids will not go hungry, and they will begin to understand that if this is what is to eat, than they will eat it.

Creating an atmosphere where you become a short order cook for your child levels unrealistic expectations on them. My Aunt has four kids that she was all a short order cook as well as all of them being picky in to some degree. The older kids which are now adults have outgrown some of it, but the younger ones, are very demanding when it comes to their foods.

My aunt herself is still a very picky eater and nitpicks food left and right when she goes out to eat. Nothing tastes right or is cooked right.  Because she isn’t satisfied with food, this has transferred to her children.  Her second child lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches most of his childhood and the two younger kids, are extremely picky with what they eat unless it comes in nugget form.

I would also suggest that parents not order picky eaters under the age of four a kid’s meals in restaurants and to share your own meal with them. My daughter who isn’t picky usually wants what I have any way and the extra cost is unneeded. I have a friend that at every meal that we go out with, she orders a meal for her picky eater which he refuses to eat. At three and half he finds some fault with the food and usually wants what others want.

This whole behavior with him makes for a very stressful eating experience because he refuses to eat and acts out a great deal till he gets what he wants which is sugar. This is the second tip in limiting sugar and snacks with picky eaters. Parents are so afraid that the kids are getting food in their system that they break down and pump them full of the wrong foods. This creates a child who most of the time isn’t hungry for normal healthy food and also on a sugar high which leads to negative behavior.

It is a vicious cycle for the kids, because he kids are not eating well, which creates a hungry ornery child who than in turn is given something like usually sugar based, which than creates a hyperactive child who doesn’t sleep well, in turns leads to more sugar and the cycle continues. For so many parents it is easier to give in to the child rather than stand their ground. Parents don’t realize how negatively they are affecting their child by not standing their ground.

The third tip is to stand your ground. When you make a meal for the family, that is what is there to eat. No child will go hungry if they are in a loving home where food is provided. If they don’t eat the meal, than they go to bed hungry. They will learn as time goes on that this is what is to eat and it is either eating or going to bed hungry. Most kids after a certain time will eat what is provided.

Though I know that there are kids out there with eating issues, and if you have tried all of the tactics and your child does seem to be lacking nutrition, then it is important to see the doctor. They will give you guidance as to assisting a child who has issues when it comes to food. Some kids have aversions that need to be dealt with on a more professional level, but this is a small percentage of kids out there.

Overall as a parent it is important to look at your own eating habits and to lead by example. It is important to have your child understand expectations with in the household. Children at a very young age understand simple expectations and thrive by that structure. My own daughter at three understands the expectations about food in the household. She loves to eat and I have worked hard in creating some better eating habits. We limit snacking and she chooses good things like fruit and veggies as snack items.

I am proud to say that because of the diligence and effort my husband and I put into the eating habits of our child, that she makes better decisions. I have seen her pass on sweets from others because they don’t appeal to her though she still is a kid and will eat them when she wants to. She also understands that she needs to eat the right stuff in order to get the sweet stuff rather than a lot of kids who refuse the right stuff and still get that sweet stuff.

]]> On Feeding A Picky Eater, 01 Mar 2011 18:41:25 +0000 At some point, you hope, it will all work itself out and, somehow, he’ll eat a balanced diet. At some point, most children are just picky eaters. What does a parent do to ensure such a child eats something resembling a healthy diet?

Toddlers love to assert their independence. They hear “no” so often that it is fun for them to get the chance to say it themselves. Refusing to eat what is put before them is an easy way to be the one in charge. Offering your toddler a limited choice might satisfy his need to call the shots while allowing him to have either carrots or peas, both healthy choices. Don’t give too much choice, though. The open ended question, “What do you want to eat?” gives your picky eater far too much leeway to choose something inappropriate.

New foods can be too new for a toddler to want to eat the first time around. You may have to introduce a new food several times before your picky eater will want to try it. Smells, textures, shapes, and colors can be off-putting, and getting used to a new food over time can help. If he doesn’t like mashed sweet potatoes today, try them again in a few weeks.

Try making food fun. Use a cookie cutter to cut sandwiches into favorite shapes, or make fruit-and-yoghurt smoothies. Shape pancakes into Mickey Mouse’s silhouette or use raisins to make e faces on pear halves. If you’re enthusiastic about the food, chances are your toddler will be, too.

Serving small portions of a variety of foods will help your picky eater find something he likes. You don’t have to feel like a short-order cook, catering to his every whim, but if you serve banana slices and apple slices, he may like the variety.

Once your child is able to understand the connection between good food and energy, use that to your advantage. If you remind him that, unless he eats his vegetables, he won’t have enough energy to enjoy the playground, he may listen up. If you offer healthy drinks, he’ll be less likely to fill up on juice and not want to eat his lunch.

If you’re concerned that your picky eater’s diet is not complete, sneak some nutrition into what he will eat. Add flaxseed to oatmeal, or cubed apples to sloppy joes, for instance. Nobody will be the wiser if you sprinkle wheat germ on your toddler’s cereal or smooth it into his applesauce.

Chances are that offering a selection of foods, allowing your child to have some choice, and being creative with food choices will help your child get over his pickiness. It may try your patience and stretch the limits of your food-presentation imagination, but your child’s tastes will likely broaden as he gets older.

]]> Do I Do With My Picky Eater?, 28 Feb 2011 02:21:06 +0000 parents first start my class, they ask, “How do I GET my kids to …?” And I answer, “I don’t know how to GET your kids to do anything.” Besides, that isn’t the problem. You already know 100s of ways to GET your children to do what you want. The problem is, the problem returns. The next day you are back at it. The only thing this breeds is exhaustion on the parents’ part and frustration on the child’s part.

With that said, I think the question of, “What do I do with my picky eater?” is at the top of the list for most parents of small children.

For help on the nutrition end of this topic, I went straight to Dietitian Amy Rice and together we came up with the following “guidelines” for navigating your children through the murky waters of picky eating.

Concerned parents often ask, “How can I get my child to eat vegetables?”

Unfortunately, they are asking the wrong question. The question that should be asked is “How can I teach my child good nutrition?” The answer to that question is a lot harder than hiding vegetables in spaghetti sauce. As in other areas of parenting, it is important to give the child structured independence, so that they can develop a healthy relationship with food.

The key to feeding your child is to first understand the division of responsibility. It is the parent’s job to choose the healthy food, and it is the child’s job to decide how much they are going to eat. They may eat it all or not a single bite. It is their choice. You have done your job by providing them with a healthy meal.

Serve one meal for the entire family. Avoid catering. You are not a short-order cook, so don’t make different foods for each person. The whole family is offered the food you make for each meal. Giving in to the picky-eater’s demands only strengthens their pickiness.

Serve at least one healthy food you know your child likes at each meal. Do not worry if your child decides against eating anything for a meal or snack. The routine of meals and snacks lets both you and your child know that another opportunity to eat will come in a few hours, even if it is from dinner until breakfast.

Be Sweden—stay neutral. Regardless of what your child does or does not eat, try not to worry. Keep your reactions and responses as neutral as possible. For example, praising children for cleaning their plates does not teach them to listen to their personal hunger cues about when they are full. It can also create unhealthy emotional connections with food.

Avoid rewarding for healthy eating and bribing to try new foods. When dessert is used as a reward for, say, trying a new vegetable at dinner, the dessert becomes a thing of value. Kids learn that a sweet food is better than a healthy one. Instead of using food as a reward or bribes, ask your child to taste the new food and keep serving it until it becomes familiar.

How do you teach nutrition and foster healthy eating habits?

Turn the TV off for meals and snacks. Not only does watching TV while eating promote mindless overeating, but most food-related commercials draw kids toward unhealthy choices.

Cooking and eating together is the best way to teach kids healthy eating habits. Kids need meal routines, just like they need bedtime routines. Let your child help prepare meals. Eat sitting together at the table. Turn off the TV, put the toys away and talk as a family.

Do what you say—eat your vegetables. Children learn by watching the people around them, and your food choices will influence theirs.

Buy healthy foods at the grocery store. If unhealthy foods aren’t in the house, your child can’t eat them.

Picky eating is like a lot of other “problems” we encounter with our small children. So much of the behavior you view as problematic is about your children wanting control over their own lives, and I think you will find that creating healthy routines and relinquishing some of the control to them will bring you much further toward eliminating the problems than you ever thought possible.

The bottom line with your picky eater is, relax—and let your child have some say in what he or she will and won’t eat. Besides, they have a whole lifetime to get into those brussels sprouts.

For more information on this topic, you can check out “Child of Mine” by Ellyn Satter, a Registered Dietitian and internationally recognized expert on pediatric nutrition.

Many thanks to Amy Rice for her contribution to this article.

]]> the Picky Eater, 27 Feb 2011 13:21:21 +0000 there a picky eater at your dinner table? If so, you are not alone in fighting these mealtime battles. Several studies show that one out of every five preschoolers is considered a picky eater, which is the reason why many parents worry if their child is getting the adequate nutrition he or she needs for healthy growth and development.

Most children go through this phase of being a picky eater because experiencing foods of different texture, color and tastes can be frightening. Young children are used to consistency and familiarity, so it can be challenging when introducing nutritious foods to finicky eaters. That is why it is important for parents to educate their children on the rights and wrongs of healthy eating and having a balanced diet.

Consider these tips to help tame your picky eater:

Take some time to plan weekly menus. Putting a little thought and planning into mealtimes generally yields big health advantages. It also gives you and your family an opportunity to try new recipes and be adventurous! Be sure to include healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables.

Don’t forget to involve children in planning, shopping and preparing meals. Use these activities to understand children’s food preferences. At the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table.

Make it fun. Cut foods into various shapes, try veggies and fruits with various dipping sauces and be creative.

Lead by example. Showing an example of proper eating habits is important. Instead of commenting on foods being bad or good, you need to show your child good eating habits by example.

Be patient with new foods. When introducing a new food to your child, you may need to expose the new food up to 10 times before they accept it. So be patient, changes are easier for children to handle if they are made slowly.

Stick to the routine. Serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day. If your child comes to the table hungry, they are more motivated to eat.

Respect your child’s appetite. Young children tend to eat only when they’re hungry. If your child isn’t hungry, don’t force a meal or snack.

Don’t forget. Remember to praise children when they do make healthy choices.

If you are concerned that picky eating is jeopardizing your child’s growth, consult your child’s pediatrician. In the meantime, remember that your child’s eating habits will not change overnight. Taking one step at a time can lead to a lifetime of healthy eating habits. Set the tone in your household by making healthy eating a rule as well as a practice!